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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park
South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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DV Pilot police & fire

Heroin mill found on quiet Cliffside Park street, $6 million worth seized

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: NJ State Police said their detectives were waiting when a New York City man walked out of a Cliffside park house with two kilos of heroin strapped around his waist, packaged like thick shoe insoles. Could they have been smuggled into the U.S. that way?

That’s the question investigators from the NJSP’s Drug Trafficking North Unit want to know.

Their investigators, along with the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF), staked out the house — in a working-class neighborhood between Anderson Avenue and Bergen Boulevard — yesterday.

That’s when Julio Cesar Mendoza, of 161st Street in the Bronx, came walking into their arms ( mugshot above ).

Inside the house, they found “a fully operational heroin production facility” from which they seized 16 more pounds of heroin, some in the insole-type packaging.

They said they also found crystal meth, along with various packaging materials.

Broken down to street-level bags, the drugs could have fetched a combined $6 million, State Police said.

Mendoza, who is believed to be the business’s owner-operator, was being held on $500,000 full cash bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with various drug counts.

No one else was in the house when he was taken into custody, the NJSP said, which means additional arrests are likely.

“Every detective, agent and officer involved in this operation can be proud of the gift they have given to our region this holiday season,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, the State Police superintendent.

“That is a lot of drugs that will never poison our residents,” he said.

“[T]he intelligence gathered will hopefully lead to further disruption of the drug trade,” Fuentes added.

Brian R. Crowell, the Special Agent in Charge of New Jersey’s DEA Office, lauded the work of the various agencies involved, describing the haul as enough “to produce hundreds of thousands of bags of heroin destined for the Tri-State area.”

Evidence seized during the search was taken to the NJSP’s Totowa barracks to be processed, after which it will go to a State Police lab. The drugs eventually will be destroyed, Fuentes said.

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