Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck today announced the indictment of 16 alleged drug dealers linked to the “400 Block” set who allegedly armed themselves with guns and illegal large-capacity magazines to defend their open-air drug markets from rival gangs.
The Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau obtained a state grand jury indictment on Thursday, October 28, charging alleged members and associates of the “400 Block” set. Fifteen are charged with first-degree racketeering.
The charges stem from “Operation Park and Pennington,” an eight-month investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and the Paterson Police Department Narcotics Unit, which initially led to arrests and charges against 15 of the defendants in July.
According to Acting Attorney General Bruck, six handguns were seized during the investigation—including two “community guns” shared by set members—along with nearly 800 rounds of ammunition and six large-capacity magazines, including a 50-round drum-type magazine and three 30-round magazines.
“Indictments like this are one part of our comprehensive strategy to combat gun violence,” said Acting Attorney General 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.”
“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,” said Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale.
Acting Attorney General Bruck stated that Eric Polanco, 27, of Paterson, allegedly ran the drug set, and his closest associate, Joseph Landrau, 26, of Paterson, allegedly acted as the set’s “street boss.”
Roberto Santiago, 60, of Paterson, allegedly was a cocaine supplier for the set.
According to Acting Attorney General Bruck, in addition to racketeering, those men are charged with first-degree promoting organized street crime, distribution charges, and face weapons charges related to the guns and large-capacity magazines that were seized.
Because of the large territory they controlled—which extended from Market Street to Park Avenue between Rosa Parks Boulevard and Madison Avenue—the 400 Block set allegedly was involved in “gang wars” with rival drug sets.
According to Acting Attorney General Bruck, on June 20, Landrau was shot four times and severely wounded in a shooting believed to involve a rival gang.
Acting Attorney General Bruck stated that Eric Polanco and Landrau face a second-degree gun conspiracy charge connected to another community handgun that Landrau allegedly carried to protect himself after being shot on June 20.
Two other defendants, Jussy Geraldino, 23, of Paterson and Kreemlin Alcantara, 22, of Paterson, were fired upon but not hit on May 24.
According to Acting Attorney General Bruck, Gregory Polanco, 28, of Haledon, Eric Polanco’s brother, faces second-degree charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose related to a “community” handgun he allegedly threw in a trash can when he believed police were following him.
He also faces a second-degree charge of possession of a weapon as a convicted felon.
According to Acting Attorney General Bruck, seven search warrants were executed on July 15. Four guns, including one community gun, a 50-round drum magazine, and a 30-round magazine, were seized at a residence linked to Eric Polanco, and two 30-round magazines were seized at a second residence linked to him.
A handgun with a large-capacity magazine was seized at a residence linked to Landrau. A handgun with a large-capacity magazine was seized at a residence linked to Roberto “Goofy” Santiago.
Those three men are charged with second-degree possession of a weapon as a convicted felon and possession of illegal large-capacity magazines.
During the course of the investigation and execution of search warrants, detectives 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.
The following 15 defendants are charged with first-degree racketeering and second-degree conspiracy to distribute narcotics, including heroin, cocaine, opioid pills, and other drugs:
- Eric Polanco, 27, of Paterson
- Joseph Landrau, 26, of Paterson
- Roberto Santiago, 60, of Paterson
- Jussy Geraldino, 23, of Paterson
- Kreemlin Alcantara, 22, of Paterson
- James Artuyo, 40, of Paterson
- Samuel Miranda, 26, of Paterson
- Arlington Santos-Medina, 24, of Paterson
- Adrian Eyzaguirre, 31, of Clifton
- Gregory Polanco, 28, of Haledon
- Avi Munoz, 24, of Paterson
- Elvin Munoz, 25, of Paterson
- Hipolito Guzman, 25, of Paterson
- Mike Martinez, 30, of Clifton
- Robert Santiago, 24, of Paterson
Most defendants face additional second- or third-degree drug charges. A sixteenth defendant, Yahaira Mangual, 43, of Paterson, is not charged with racketeering; she faces conspiracy and drug possession charges.