NEWARK — A 42-year-old man has been arrested and charged with causing the overdose death of a beloved Newark fire captain six months ago.

Eliasel Baez, of Kearny, was charged with strict liability drug-induced death for distributing a controlled dangerous substance that caused the January death of 49-year-old Carlos Rivera, of Sayreville.

Rivera was found unresponsive inside the firehouse of Engine 15 Ladder 7 at 269 Park Avenue alongside a retired firefighter who was also unconscious, officials said.

Newark Fire Capt. Carlos Rivera (Carlos Rivera Facebook page)
Newark Fire Capt. Carlos Rivera (Carlos Rivera Facebook page)

Rivera was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The other man, whose identity was not disclosed, was released shortly after.

Baez has also been charged with counts of distribution of cocaine and distribution of drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

“Essex County leads the state in drug overdoses. Given those numbers, it is important we fully investigate these cases and charge the perpetrators with strict liability homicide when appropriate," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens said in a written statement. “The facts and circumstances in this case warranted those charges."

Anyone with information regarding the case has been asked to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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