Police officer Ruben McAusland pleaded guilty to dealing drugs using his department vehicle on Wednesday morning. His conviction is the first in a police corruption probe that led to the arrest of four police officers and the suspension of two others.
McAusland, 26, of Paterson, was arrested in late April. He pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute narcotics and deprivation of civil rights under color of law before U.S. District judge William H. Walls in Newark.
“McAusland’s conduct breached his duties as an officer of the law and violated the public trust,” said Craig Carpenito, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. “He dealt drugs, stole from a crime scene, and viciously attacked an individual who contacted the Paterson Police Department rightfully expecting to receive assistance and protection from McAusland and his partner.”
From late 2017 through early 2018, McAusland dealt heroin, crack-cocaine, powder cocaine, and marijuana, according to the FBI. The FBI caught McAusland by using an informant, who cooperated with law enforcement in hopes of obtaining a more favorable outcome to a recent drug conviction.
McAusland, who joined the police force in 2014, sold the drugs he confiscated from dealers. He was placed on unpaid suspension following the arrest. He was terminated from the force following the guilty plea, according to municipal officials.
“Police Officers take a solemn oath to uphold the law and to protect the public. The few who take advantage of this public trust, at any level, will be investigated by the FBI and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This officer not only violated his pledge but tarnished the reputation of all law enforcement by his grievous lawlessness,” said special agent in charge Gregory Ehrie of the Newark FBI Field Office.
Three other police officers – Jonathan Bustios, Eudy Ramos, Roger Then – were arrested in the same probe.
Then is accused of assaulting a suicidal man at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and filing a misleading police report. McAusland was involved in the assault.
McAusland pushed the victim in wheelchair and punched him in the face. Then allegedly grabbed the victim by the neck and pushed him into the ground.
Both officers met the victim in the hospital’s waiting room. The officers had a second encounter with the victim in a hospital room.
While the victim was on his back in a bed, McAusland admitted, that he put on a pair of gloves and viciously struck the man twice across the face.
The victim sustained multiple injuries to his face. He needed surgery for an eye injury.
McAusland faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison for the drug offense. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for deprivation of civil rights.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9, 2018.
Police officers Frank Toledo and Matthew Torres were placed on unpaid suspension in May as part of the same probe. Neither was charged with any wrongdoing by the FBI.
“The people of Paterson, and all of New Jersey, deserve better. This Office remains strongly committed to identifying and rooting out corrupt police officers and bringing them to justice under federal law,” said Carpenito.