A state grand jury has indicted 16 alleged drug dealers, 15 of them members of a violent “400 Block” street gang, announced acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew Bruck on Monday.
Gang members ran open air drug markets in the area of Park Avenue and Pennington Street. They defended their territory from rival gangs using illegal guns, authorities said. Law enforcement seized six handguns, 800 rounds of ammunition, and six large capacity magazines in the eight-month long investigation dubbed “Operation Park and Pennington” in July.
Authorities said the state grand jury indicted the alleged drug dealers on Thursday.
“Indictments like this are one part of our comprehensive strategy to combat gun violence,” said Bruck. “We are committed to keeping New Jerseyans safe by prosecuting criminal organizations who fuel gun violence in Paterson and other communities across the state.”
The 15 alleged gang members indicted on racketeering and conspiracy to distribute narcotics, including heroin, cocaine, opioid pills, and other drugs were:
- Eric Polanco, 27, of Paterson, N.J.
- Joseph Landrau, 26, of Paterson, N.J.
- Roberto Santiago, 60, of Paterson, N.J.
- Jussy Geraldino, 23, of Paterson, N.J.
- Kreemlin Alcantara, 22, of Paterson, N.J.
- James Artuyo, 40 of Paterson, N.J.
- Samuel Miranda, 26, of Paterson, N.J.
- Arlington Santos-Medina, 24, of Paterson, N.J.
- Adrian Eyzaguirre, 31, of Clifton, N.J.
- Gregory Polanco, 28, of Haledon, N.J.
- Avi Munoz, 24, of Paterson, N.J.
- Elvin Munoz, 25, of Paterson, N.J.
- Hipolito Guzman, 25, of Paterson, N.J.
- Mike Martinez, 30, of Clifton, N.J.
- Robert Santiago, 24, of Paterson, N.J.
The 16th alleged drug dealer is Yahaira Mangual, 43, of Paterson. She is not charged with racketeering, but faces conspiracy and drug possession charges.
Polanco allegedly ran the set and his associate Landrau acted as the gang’s “street boss.” Santiago served as a cocaine supplier for the set, authorities said. All three were also charged with promoting organized street crime among other charges.
Polanco and his gang controlled a large area that extended from Market Street to Park Avenue between Rosa Parks Boulevard and Madison Avenue. This meant having to defend his territory against encroachment from rival gangs.
Authorities said the gang was involved in “gang wars” with rivals. Landrau was shot four times in June. Two other gang members were fired upon, but not injured.
Law enforcement seized 40 single-dose wax folds of heroin, over 5 ounces of powder cocaine, most of it packaged in single-dose bags for sale, 40 vials/bags of crack cocaine, 60 oxycodone pills, 22 Percocet pills, and 10 Xanax pills, authorities said.
“Let this indictment show that if you fuel gun violence anywhere in New Jersey, you will be held accountable,” said Lyndsay Ruotolo, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This investigation and indictment show that we in law enforcement are better when we combine our efforts and collaborate to target gangs, guns, and drugs that put communities at risk.”