Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Feds Say Paterson Man Supplied Pa. Drug Ring

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Feds Say Paterson Man Supplied Pa. Drug Ring

Article excerpt

PATERSON -- A Paterson connection was supplying large quantities of heroin to a drug ring in western Pennsylvania -- including a 25,000-packet shipment last month that resulted in the arrests of four suspects, according to federal law enforcement officials.

But the alleged Paterson supplier -- described in court records as "an unknown male" -- was not among the people that authorities say they've arrested so far, even though documents show that the FBI apparently knew the license plate number of the vehicle the suspect was driving when he allegedly delivered the drugs and the number of the cellphone he used to arrange the deal.

The incident coincided with an announcement last month that law enforcement broke up an Atlantic City-based drug-dealing ring that sold heroin provided by Paterson suppliers.

In the Pennsylvania case, the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court says investigators monitored text messages between the crew from outside Pittsburgh and the Paterson supplier to learn that they were making a rendezvous in mid-April in the Paterson area.

Two women -- Krystal Barretto, 29, of McKeesport, Pa., and Amanda Santiago, 23, of Jersey City -- traveled from western Pennsylvania on April 17 and arrived in the Paterson area in the early morning of April 18, court documents say.

They arranged a meeting with the supplier at an undisclosed Paterson parking lot on April 19, the documents say. Barretto and Santiago came in a Chevrolet Impala, while the "unknown male" arrived in a Mercedes with New Jersey license plates, the records say.

The Impala left the parking lot shortly afterward and stopped to drop Santiago off at a nearby taxi stand, the records say.

Hours later, investigators watched the New Jersey taxi drop Santiago off at a house in McKeesport, just outside Pittsburgh, the documents say. But authorities say they learned through "intercepted communications" that Santiago could not get inside the house because she didn't have the key, the records say.

Soon afterward, authorities say they arrested Santiago on the porch of the house with 500 bricks of heroin, each brick containing 50 packets, which the FBI says she had taken with her on the taxi ride from Paterson. …

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