YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A manhunt was under way for an accused drug dealer from Passaic who hit one of his associates with his car, nearly ran down a detective from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and then bailed out of the vehicle on Route 4 in Paramus following an undercover bust that spun out of control.
Police and detectives grabbed three Bronx men outside the Chil’s Restaurant in Paramus, but not before they tried to escape, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.
Officers were moving in on the crew after an undercover deal when a man identified as 26-year-old Felix Pena of Passaic hopped into his Lexus and gunned it toward two detectives in the parking lot.
The sedan first hit a civilian’s vehicle, then struck an associate who Molinelli said was trying to run away.
Pena “continued to drive erratically through the parking lot,” the prosecutor said, “ultimately driving up an embankment and onto Route 17 South.”
Another car, driven by one of the other suspects, with two more inside, also careened out of the lot and onto the highway.
A Paramus police patrol unit followed that car, which hit a rock and came to a stop.
All three occupants ran, but police caught two of them.
The driver of the second car, a Malibu, remained at large and had yet to be identified late this afternoon.
Pena, meanwhile, “continued to drive erratically on Route 17 South,” during which a witness saw him pull over, get out and throw a bag toward a tree, Molinelli said.
He got back in and drove off, the prosecutor said.
Police recovered the bag, which contained the marijuana the undercover detectives negotiated to buy, he said.
Glen Peguero, 23, and Otoniel Mercedes, 25, were immediately taken into custody and later lodged in the Bergen County Jail, both on $75,000 bail.
The man struck by Perez’s car, identified as 24-year-old Terrell Owens, was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center under guard by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. His bail is the same as the others.
Charges against all of them include eluding and drug possession.
Pena was still on the loose as of late this afternoon.
The investigation began on Aug. 17, when he sold two ounces of pot for $270 in Ridgefield to an undercover detective from the prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force, Molinelli said.
Then, on Aug. 27, Pena sold another two ounces for $670, this time in Paramus, he said.
Having built trust, the investigators arranged for a deal to go down late yesterday afternoon at the Chili’s: Pena was to sell them three pounds of pot for $10,000, Molinelli said.
Pena pulled up in the same Lexus, with New York plates, that he’d used in the previous deals, the prosecutor said.
He got out of that car and into one driven by one of the undercover detectives.
Surveillance units watched as a white Chevy Malibu with New Jersey plates pulled into an adjacent lot. Peguero and Mercedes were inside, the prosecutor said.
Moments later, Owens came walking toward the undercover vehicle while talking on a cellphone. Pena got out and walked toward Owens.
That’s when police moved in and chaos erupted.
Warrants have been issued for Pena’s arrest carrying a bail of $500,000 cash. Besides significant drug offenses, he faces charges for hitting Owens with his car and for trying to hit the detectives, as well.