Police: Teen ringleader arrested in narcotics bust

A major drug bust in Passaic netted a large amount of narcotics and more than $100,000, and police say the ringleader was a 17-year-old.

Surveillance video shows a major drug bust at the Chestnut Gardens housing complex in Passaic.

Surveillance video shows a major drug bust at the Chestnut Gardens housing complex in Passaic. (9/28/15)

PASSAIC - A major drug bust in Passaic netted a large amount of narcotics and more than $100,000, and police say the ringleader was a 17-year-old.

Passaic Housing Police Director Jeffrey Gorley says that the teen was allegedly selling drugs on the playground at the Chestnut Gardens public housing complex and even hiring younger kids to help him.

"I call it the Robin Hood effect...where you have a drug dealer who comes into public housing and befriends people who live in public housing," says Gorley. "Then these residents become friends of these bad folks and they become allies in helping them sell drugs."

Passaic housing police were investigating the 17-year-old for about five months. When he was finally arrested, police found $110,000 in cash in his apartment.

Police officers say that this was quite a large amount for one person. Three years ago, 70 people were arrested in a drug bust in a different housing complex and officers seized less money.

Passaic's housing police look over six housing complexes and Section 8 housing. There are 168 cameras monitored at all times. With the help of this technology, Gorley says that he wants to weed out criminals who prey on the disadvantaged.

"Whether it's here in Passaic or other cities, it can't be tolerated because it just brings down a whole neighborhood really," he says.

The 17-year-old's mother now faces eviction for violating housing policy.

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