A Paterson man was sentenced today in connection with an August 2012 incident where police discovered his girlfriend locked in a bedroom at his home.  

Michael Mendez (NJ's Office of the Attorney General)

Michael Mendez, 42, of Paterson was handed a five-year sentence today with 18 months of parole ineligibility, according to NJ's Office of the Attorney General.

He pleaded guilty March 7 to third-degree charges of criminal restraint and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.

Mendez is a reputed member of the Latin Kings street gang.

In August, 2012, members of the NJ State Police Street Gang Unit were executing a search warrant at Mendez's home on Alois Place in Paterson when they made a startling discovery.

They found Mendez's girlfriend alone inside a bedroom that was padlocked from the outside to prohibit escape, according to a release.

Authorities say they believe the woman had been locked in the bedroom for extended periods of time over the past two years.

In addition to that, detectives seized about 150 prescription anti-anxiety and pain pills, about 7 ounces of marijuana and more than $22,000 in cash from the residence.