Pills, Pot, Guns, $25Gs: Sheriff's Detectives Smash Paterson 'Drugstore'

PATERSON, N.J. -- A Paterson man operated a virtual pharmacy from his apartment, distributing up to seven different types of drugs, said authorities who seized three guns, more than two pounds of pot, three ounces of crack and hundreds of pills -- as well as more than $25,000 in cash.

Eric T. Mckenzie
Eric T. Mckenzie Photo Credit: MUGSHOTS: Courtesy PASSAIC COUNTY SHERIFF

Passaic County sheriff's narcotics detectives were following up a tip about drug deals on Keen Street when they saw Eric T. Mckenzie, 38, get into a black Kia around 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said.

Mckenzie drove to 6th Avenue and East 19th Street and met with a man identified as Brian T. Gilligan, 49, of Hawthorne, Berdnik said.

Each went in opposite directions after a drug deal, with detectives following, he said.

Gilligan swallowed three Oxycodone pills after detectives stopped him -- which he later admitted and was charged with destroying evidence for, the sheriff said.

Meanwhile, other detectives grabbed Mckenzie, who smelled of raw marijuana and was carrying a knotted bag of pot, 29 Oxycodone pills and more than $1,000 in cash, he said.

Detectives returned to 117 Keen Street with a warrant, Berdnik said.

There they found weapons and an estimated $20,000 worth of drugs:

A loaded Smith and Wesson .38-caliber revolver reported stolen out of Chesapeake City, MD;

  • A loaded Jimenez Arms Inc. .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun;
  • A Taurus PT-738 .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun;
  • More than two pounds of marijuana;
  • More than three ounces of crack;
  • 13 grams of powdered cocaine;
  • 40 envelopes of heroin;
  • 230 Xanax pills, 193 Oxycodone pills and 105 Endocet pills;
  • Bullets;
  • Drug paraphernalia;
  • $24,238 in alleged drug proceeds.

They charged Mckenzie with 26 drug and weapons offenses, including being a convicted felon in possession of firearms.

"Any time drugs, three guns and a large amount of money can be taken off our streets, it’s a good outcome," Berdnik said. "I want to commend the detectives involved in this operation."

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