TO: ALL NEWS MEDIA
FROM: PROSECUTOR GURBIR S. GREWAL
DATE: SEPTEMBER 8, 2017
Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced the arrests of FRANCISCO BATISTA (DOB:06/29/84; single; self-employed in construction) of 1370 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, New York and CESAR MERCEDES-PAULINO (DOB:01/28/75; single; unemployed) of 3440 Gates Place, Bronx, New York on narcotics and money laundering related charges. These arrests are the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti.
On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force was involved in a drug trafficking investigation, during which detectives conducted a motor vehicle stop on a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan at the upper level toll plaza of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey. This vehicle was being driven by Francisco BATISTA, and Cesar MERCEDES-PAULINO was the front seat passenger. A search of the Dodge Caravan revealed $15,995.00 in cash and an electronically operated hidden compartment that contained approximately one pound of heroin.
Francisco BATISTA and Cesar MERCEDES-PAULINO were both charged with one count each of Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance, namely Heroin, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5B(1), a First Degree Crime; and Transporting or Possessing Property Known to be Derived from Criminal Activity, specifically by possessing $15,995 in United States Currency, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25(A), a Third Degree Crime. Both men were remanded to the Bergen County Jail pending a Central Judicial Processing court date.
Prosecutor Grewal states that these charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.