Trooper’s Traffic Stop Precedes $1M
In Heroin Bust and Shutdown of Paterson Heroin
Paterson, N.J. - The New Jersey State Police yesterday stopped a car for erratic driving on I-280 and ended up with five arrests, $1 million of heroin and an apartment-based heroin production facility.
The crimes were uncovered when a trooper stopped a 2001 Volkswagen Passat after it made several erratic moves on I-280 westbound and then exited into Orange City where it was stopped. The driver, Ramon Hernandez-Baez, 34 of Paterson, did not have driving credentials, and made conflicting statements leading troopers to search the VW. In the trunk was a bag containing more than 5,000 decks of heroin stamped “PEANUT BUTTER” and “ICE CREAM” with a value of more than $100,000. Hernandez-Baez was arrested.
State Police detectives furthered the investigation with the assistance of the D.E.A., N.J. Division of Criminal Justice, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Sheriff’s Department and the Paterson Police Department. Troopers and detectives then converged on 522 Summer St., Apartment 2 in Paterson, where the Passat was registered. They encountered the car’s owner, Paula Calderin, 33 of Paterson, outside the apartment. Calderin created a commotion in an obvious attempt to warn others in the apartment of the presence of police.
Detectives entered the apartment and found three men dressed in their underwear processing and packaging heroin in the stifling heat with no ventilation. All three attempted to flee. Iliann Garcia, 27 of New York, N.Y., Andres Herman, 59 of Bronx, N.Y., and Ramon Mercado, 40 of New York, N.Y were immediately captured and arrested. The apartment was secured while a search warrant was prepared.
When the search warrant was executed, police found that two rooms of the seven in the apartment were entirely dedicated to heroin production. At least 25 different stamps and inkpads, 100,000+ empty glassine bags, cutting agents, 11 grinders (two full of heroin) and almost eight pounds of total heroin in various stages of packaging.
One hundred ten decks of heroin and a syringe were found in Calderin’s purse. A second syringe was discovered in Calderin’s shoe.
All subjects were taken to Totowa State Police barracks for processing after arrest. Charges for each include manufacturing of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), possession of CDS, and with intent to distribute—all first-degree offenses.
Judge Gerald Keegan of Paterson Municipal Court set bail for all five subjects at $250,000 with no 10% option. They were lodged in Passaic County Jail in default of that bail.
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