chief James Batelli credited the “excellent police work” of two Mahwah officers in the apprehension of a “known gang member” wanted in New York.
Mitchell Gardner, 30, of Kingston, N.Y., was arrested in Mahwah Tuesday after being pulled over for a motor vehicle violation, Batelli said. Gardner “was wanted out of New York State for a parole violation,” and had an “extensive criminal history for serious crimes and is a known gang
member,” Batelli said.
Mahwah officers Michael Direnzo and David Vega pulled Gardner’s
2002 Pontiac over Tuesday afternoon and became suspicious when the driver and two male passengers offered officers conflicting stories, Batelli said.
“It was clear that their intention was to hide [Gardner’s identity,]” Batelli said.
As a result of the officers’ investigation, Gardner was identified by fingerprinting, and was found to be carrying three packets used to package heroin, Batelli said. Gardner was arrested on possession of drug paraphernalia and hindering apprehension charges and transported to Bergen County Jail, where he is awaiting transfer to New York on parole violation charges, Batelli said.
Police also seized more than $2,500 in cash Gardner was carrying, he said.
“It was clear from [Gardner’s] extensive criminal history that he was familiar [with] how the system worked and that if authorities learned who he was he would be looking at additional jail time,” Batelli said. “Credit should be given to Officers Direnzo and Vega for their excellent police work.”