4/12/2018Feds Bust New Jersey Cops For Ripping Off Motorists
Federal investigation leads to corruption charges against a pair of New Jersey police officers who shook down motorists for cash and guns.
A pair of cops from Paterson, New Jersey face federal corruption charges for stealing from motorists during traffic stops. Officers Jonathan K. Bustios, 28, and Eudy Ramos, 31, were led away in handcuffs Wednesday by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The conspiracy to violate civil rights charges stem from the February 20, 2018, traffic stop of a BMW sedan being driven by a black man on Bergen Street. Officer Ramos parked his squad car in front of the Bimmer and Officer Bustios parked behind so that the vehicle and its two occupants could be thoroughly searched. Officer Bustios found a white plastic bag that contained cash and a revolver. Bustios handed some of the cash to Officer Ramos and later that day reported they had found the firearm based on a tip from a concerned citizen. No report was made about the traffic stop, and the cash was never turned in.
The officers did not get away with it because the department suspected something was wrong and they were placed under video surveillance. In a second incident on March 14, 2018, Officer Bustios operating alone arrested a man on drug charges. On the way to the police station, he began discussing how the charges would be reduced if the suspect told him the location of a firearm.
"How about this," Officer Bustios said. "I won't charge you with resisting arrest... How much money you have on you? If it's under a certain amount, you can keep it... You see, I'm tryna find ways to hook you up."
As the officer explained it, by reporting that the suspect only had $100 in cash on him, the charge would be dropped from selling drugs to merely possessing them. The suspect went for the deal.
Officer Bustios is also facing an ongoing civil lawsuit over use of excessive force. While responding to a December 30, 2016 domestic dispute, Paterson officers busted down the door of the apartment belonging to Dereen A. Wofford claiming they heard a shot fired. According to the complaint, Officer Bustios then threw Wofford to the floor and shot him three times while he was handcuffed and lying face down.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, while the extortion under color of official right adds up to twenty years for Officer Bustios.