Paterson drug ring busted with 14 alleged gang members charged
PATERSON — More than a dozen alleged drug dealers who authorities have said are tied to the Trinitarios street gang have been charged with racketeering and conspiracy, according to a release Thursday from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.
Four of the 14 alleged members of the drug set remain at large in "Operation Park and Pennington," named for the area of Paterson under the gang's control: Kreemlin Alcantara, 22, of Paterson; Adrian Eyzaguirre, 31, of Clifton; Mike Martinez, 30, of Clifton; and Gregory Polanco, 28, of Haledon.
Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck said the gang members allegedly armed themselves with guns and illegal, large-capacity magazines, six of the latter of which were seized in the investigation. That is in addition to five handguns, almost 800 rounds of ammunition, heroin, both powder and crack cocaine, and oxycodone, Percocet, and Xanax pills.
A conversation cited by the State at detention hearings Wednesday shone a light on escalating gang wars in this particular section of Paterson, with alleged ringleader Eric Polanco quoted as saying, "People want war, so we going to have war."
Polanco's second-in-command, Joseph Landrau, was shot and severely wounded during an apparent dispute with a rival gang in June.
Eric Polanco, 27, of Paterson, and Landrau, 26, of Paterson, were among the 10 defendants arrested beginning last week, joined by:
- James Artuyo, 40, of Paterson
- Jussy Geraldino, 23, of Paterson
- Hipolito Guzman, 25, of Paterson
- Samuel Miranda, 26, of Paterson
- Avi Munoz, 24, of Paterson
- Elvin Munoz, 25, of Paterson
- Roberto Santiago, a.k.a. "Goofy," 60, of Paterson
- Arlington Santos-Medina, 24, of Paterson
All 14 in total face first-degree racketeering and third-degree conspiracy distribution charges, with most also slapped with second- or third-degree drug charges.
Santiago's son, 24-year-old Robert "Macho" Santiago of Paterson, is a 15th defendant in the case, but is charged with drug offenses only.
State Division of Criminal Justice Director Lyndsay Ruotolo said strategic, targeted investigations into drug and gang operations in Paterson will continue.