Drug dispute led to gruesome end, authorities say

Posted: June 11, 2014

A man whose skeletal remains were found in a red trash can off I-676 in Camden in December was killed after he allegedly stole $2,000 worth of drugs from a Camden drug set he was part of, according to a probable cause affidavit read in court Monday.

The family of Adrian Rivera, 23, of Camden, cried as Assistant Prosecutor Christopher St. John described what he called the "utter disrespect" given to Rivera's remains. Lashaun Brown-Bunch, 21, of Camden, was arrested Friday in connection with Rivera's slaying and charged with murder. On Monday, Superior Court Judge Edward McBride Jr. ordered Brown-Bunch to be held on $1 million bail.

Brown-Bunch displayed little emotion during the hearing. Rivera's family declined to speak afterward.

Rivera's remains were found Dec. 20. Police said a black plastic bag was knotted around the neck. It took a forensic analysis by New Jersey State Police to determine the identity.

According to the affidavit, an unidentified individual told detectives that Brown-Bunch beat Rivera with a "sharp instrument" and unleashed a pit bull on him in August.

The attack occurred inside a house in the 1700 block of Norris Street from which the drug set allegedly operated. Several months later, on Oct. 15, Rivera was reported missing.

In January, authorities searched the home and found blood in a second-floor bedroom. DNA testing later linked the blood to Rivera. Detectives also found bloody sweat pants with a Family First benefits card belonging to Rivera in the pocket. Rivera had last used the card in August, the affidavit said.

Brown-Bunch told detectives on Friday that Rivera had admitted taking $2,000 in drugs, which members of the drug set had noticed was missing, the affidavit said. Brown-Bunch told the set's members to "[expletive] him up," the affidavit said.


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Inquirer staff writer Clark Mindock contributed to this article.

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