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DV Pilot Police & Fire

Hook, Line And Stinger: Undercover Paterson Police Bust 52 Prostitutes, Johns

Genuine streetwalker or undercover officer?
Genuine streetwalker or undercover officer? Photo Credit: © Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of men who flocked to a notorious Paterson neighborhood looking for hookers were surprised – and arrested – when some of the streetwalkers turned out to be undercover city police officers.

At the same time, police posing as johns rolled up to genuine working girls, then busted those who solicited them.

In less than a day, 57 people were arrested – among them, 21 accused prostitutes and 31 alleged johns, Police Director Jerry Speziale said. The others were busted on drug offenses, he said.

The sweep was the type of quality-of-life initiative that Speziale said is vital to police work: Allowing or ignoring lesser crimes creates a breeding ground for drug dealing, robberies and shootings.

The department’s ABC/Vice squad, assisted by the Narcotics Division and Community Stabilization Unit, targeted the areas around Van Houten and E.18th streets and Market and E.26th streets, the director said.

In addition to the arrests, police seized six vials of crack, 146 folds of heroin, 5 Percocet pills and nearly $400 in suspected drug proceeds, he said.

The accused hookers ranged in age from 29 to 45 and came from Clifton, Dumont, Hackensack, Prospect Park, Toms River, Mount Arlington and Westville. One is from Middletown, NY, and another from Seymour, Missouri. Thirteen are from Paterson.

Nine had outstanding warrants from other towns.

The alleged johns ranged in age from 29 to 68 and came from Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Hasbrouck Heights, Ho-Ho-Kus, Maywood, Rochelle Park, North Bergen, Budd Lake and Newburgh NY.

Fourteen are from Paterson.

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