An eight-month long investigation into a set of the Trinitarios street gang in Paterson yielded racketeering charges against 14 alleged drug dealers, acting New Jersey attorney general Andrew J. Bruck said on Thursday.
Ten of the gang members have been arrested and four are still being sought.
Authorities said the Trinitarios set called “400 Block” armed itself with guns and large capacity magazines to defend its open-air drug market from rival gangs. They were actively engaged in gang violence to protect their turf, authorities said.
Authorities seized five handguns, including a community gun shared by set members, and 800 rounds of ammunition and six large capacity magazines, including a 50-round drug-type magazine and three 30-round magazines, in “Operation Park and Pennington.”
Eric Polanco, 27, allegedly ran the 400 Block. His close associate Joseph Landrau, 26, allegedly acted as the set’s street boss. Roberto Santiago, 60, supplied the set with cocaine.
Polanco, Landrau, and Santiago also face charges of promoting organized street crime and weapons offenses.
“We’re going after those who fuel gun violence in Paterson and other New Jersey communities,” said Bruck. “By focusing our efforts on the criminal organizations and criminal activities that present the greatest threats to public safety, we intend to make our communities safe for the people of this state.”
Polanco and his crew controlled a large territory which extended from Market Street to Park Avenue between Rosa Parks Boulevard and Madison Avenue. They were involved in gang wars with rival drug sets, authorities said.
Some members of the gang became casualties of the wars.
Landrau was shot four times on June 20 by a rival gang. After Landrau was shot, law enforcement tapped Polanco’s phone and heard him discuss a violent retaliation with a rival.
“People want war, so we going to have war,” Polanco states in a conversation cited by law enforcement.
Two other gang members, Jussy Geraldino, 23, and Kreemlin Alcantara, 22, were fired upon but not injured on May 24.
“This operation is yet another example of our partnership with the Paterson Police Department, and demonstrates our commitment to the residents of this section of Paterson, who live with the daily threat of being caught in the crossfire of rival drug sets,” said director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’ll continue to conduct these strategic investigations targeting the gangs, guns, and drugs that are undermining safety and security in too many of our neighborhoods.”
Detectives seized 40 single-dose wax folds of heroin, over 5 ounces of powder cocaine, 40 vials of crack cocaine, 60 oxycodone pills, 22 Percocet pills, and 10 Xanax pills.
“We appreciate our strong partnership in support of our common goal of dismantling this criminal enterprise, which will have a far-reaching impact in making a safer Paterson,” Paterson public safety director Jerry Speziale said.
Below is the list of the set members:
- Eric Polanco, 27, of Paterson, N.J.
- Joseph Landrau, 26, of Paterson, N.J.
- Roberto Santiago, aka “Goofy,” 60, of Paterson, N.J.
- *Gregory Polanco, 28, of Haledon, N.J.
- *Kreemlin Alcantara, 22, of Paterson, N.J.
- James Artuyo, 40 of Paterson, N.J.
- *Adrian Eyzaguirre, 31, of Clifton, N.J.
- Jussy Geraldino, 23, of Paterson, N.J.
- Hipolito Guzman, 25, of Paterson, N.J.
- *Mike Martinez, 30, of Clifton, N.J.
- Samuel Miranda, 26, of Paterson, N.J.
- Avi Munoz, 24, of Paterson, N.J.
- Elvin Munoz, 25, of Paterson, N.J.
- Arlington Santos-Medina, 24, of Paterson, N.J.
* Denotes still at large.