08/08/2003 12:00AM

Trainer arrested on drug charges


The New Jersey State Police arrested trainer Julio R. Cartagena at Monmouth Park on Thursday and charged him with possession and use of prescription drugs and possession of hypodermic needles and syringes.

Only a licensed veterinarian is allowed to possess prescription drugs and administer them to racehorses.

Cartagena was released on his own recognizance.

The state police searched Cartagena's barn after a second horse of his at the meet tested positive. The first positive was for clenbuterol, a bronchodilator, the second for flunixin, an anti-inflammatory also known as Banamine. The seized material has been sent to laboratories for analysis.

"We are currently discussing the matter with the New Jersey attorney general's office, and I anticipate that this incident will be the subject of a hearing early next week," said Frank Zanzuccki, executive director of the New Jersey Racing Commission.

Cartagena refused to comment when reached at home. He has saddled four winners from 24 starters at the current meet.