PATERSON, N.J. – FBI agents busted a New Jersey cop Friday for dealing dope from his squad car. Specifically, federal authorities said the officer was dealing crack cocaine, heroin, cocaine (hydrochloride) and marijuana.
Ruben McAusland, 26, who worked for the Paterson Police Department, was caught selling roughly $12,000 in drugs to an undercover buyer who was working with the feds, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement Friday.
New York Post reported the crooked cop is accused of selling at least 35 grams of marijuana, 48 grams of heroin, 31 grams of cocaine and 31 grams of crack between October 2017 and April 2018, according to Carpenito.
“It’s a surprising case — that an officer, who is supposed to be preventing the sale of drugs, did just the opposite,” said Will Skaggs, a spokesman for Carpenito.
On Feb. 11, 2018, McAusland reportedly met the undercover buyer in his police cruiser at a supermarket parking lot, near police headquarters, and sold him four sample heroin pills, authorities said.
“There’s cameras here,” McAusland warned the buyer as the cop allegedly sold the man 5.1 grams of heroin, an exchange made less than half a mile from Paterson police headquarters, according to federal authorities, reported northjersey.com.
Moreover, he then sold the buyer larger hauls of the pills on several other occasions, including 1,010 pills for $7,000 on April 1, the federal authorities said.
Furthermore, he is accused of selling the buyer marijuana, heroin and cocaine in October 2017, according to authorities.
Officials indicated the drug deals occurred while McAusland was on and off duty.
McAusland, who had worked for the Paterson Police Department for four years, faces a maximum of 40 years in prison for narcotics distribution.
McAusland was part of the same police academy training class that included the two officers arrested last week on conspiracy and extortion charges – Jonathan Bustios and Eudy Ramos, according to northjersey.com.
Bustios and Ramos were accused by federal authorities of making illegal traffic stops, then improperly searching vehicles and taking cash, drugs and other items from them. In one instance, Bustios allegedly agreed to drop a resisting arrest charge against a suspect in exchange for a handgun, officials said.
“That’s absolutely awful for the city,” said City Council President Ruby Cotton of the charges against the three officers. “It’s sad when you have people who are paid to protect and serve us doing these things.”
Cotton said she doesn’t think the accused cops reflected the whole department. “They’re weeding them out,” she said. “I’m happy to see that.”
Mayor Jane Williams-Warren expressed similar sentiments. “As mayor, I have complete faith in our Paterson police officers,” the mayor said. “This case does not speak for all of them.”
Paterson is the largest city in Passaic County, New Jersey. It has a population of 147,754. The city has the second highest density of any U.S. city with over 100,000 people, behind New York City.
While making his first court appearance, McAusland spoke quietly giving mostly one-word answers to the questions posed by the magistrate. His lawyer, John Whipple, said the officer was innocent of the charges. But the attorney declined to comment further until he had time to review the allegations.
Law enforcement officials said the charges against McAusland, Bustios and Ramos all stem from the same investigation but that cases were worked independently from each other.
The probe of Bustios and Ramos generated information that later triggered the investigation into McAusland, said Paterson Police Chief Troy Oswald.
“His alleged wrongdoing is isolated and independent from the other two,” Oswald said.
The police department has suspended McAusland without pay, said the chief.
“These officers are not a reflection of all the men and women of the Paterson police department who work hard every day,” Oswald said. “These are a few bad apples.”
Bustios and Ramos last week pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and were released on $100,000 bonds. They are under house arrest with electronic monitoring.
McAusland posted a $100,000 bail bond and was released Friday. Judge Steven Mannion ordered McAusland not to make contact with any witnesses in the case and to undergo mental health testing.
Last week, Law Enforcement Today reported the arrest of two Memphis police officers who are accused of dealing drugs and providing safe passage of a heroin shipment coming through the city.
Terrion Bryson and Kevin Coleman were snagged in a sting conducted by the FBI’s Tarnished Blue Unit.