Three men were apprehended and 263 packets of heroin was seized on Friday along with $800 in drug money and a Mercedes Benz, announced Richard Berdnik, Passaic County Sheriff.
City resident Johnny Rivera, 44; Victor Miranda, 39, of Hawthorne; and Matthew Banta, 44, of West Milford were caught in distributing large quantities of heroin in the city, according to Berdnik.
Detectives were investigating Miranda watching him as he distributed drugs throughout. He was observed dealing cocaine throughout the city, said Berdnik. As sheriff’s officers were observing Miranda they came across Rivera and Banta, both were observed engaging in drug transactions.
Video surveillance was setup outside Rivera’s home on 161 Illinois Avenue. There detectives watched Rivera as he left his home, walked a few blocks, and entered through the passenger side door of a Dodge Neon. Inside the vehicle was Banta. Officers watched as Rivera and Banta exchanged drugs and money.
After the transaction Rivera exited the vehicle and left the area. “A motor vehicle stop of the Dodge Neon was conducted,” the sheriff’s office said. “A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of 263 packets of heroin.”
Banta was charged with drug possession and brought into custody. Detectives then, returned to Rivera’s home and placed him under arrest. At the apartment authorities recovered $800 in cash in Miranda’s pocket, several baggies of powder cocaine, and a 2004 Mercedes Benz 500. The Mercedes was towed and is pending future forfeiture proceedings, authorities said.
“By conducting this investigation, the Sheriff’s Office was able to arrest three drug dealers,” Berdnik said. “We allege that these three individuals were distributing large amounts of narcotics throughout Paterson and we are glad that are now out of business.”