ENGLEWOOD, N.J. -- What began as a routine bust of an Englewood fast food restaurant that investigators said sold cigarettes to a 16-year-old led to the arrests of four undocumented Bangladeshi nationals and the seizure of marijuana, 16,000 untaxed cigarettes and other contraband.
Englewood police began investigating tips about employees dealing drugs, fencing stolen property and selling cigarettes to minors out of the Crown Chicken & Fish takeout restaurant on West Englewood Avenue, Detective Capt. Timothy Torell told Daily Voice on Wednesday.
A pack of cigarettes sold to the teenager sent in on the undercover mission on Saturday bore a state of Virginia tax stamp instead of New Jersey, Torell said. So investigators contacted state Treasury agents.
Search warrants executed on Tuesday yielded brass knuckles, marijuana packaged for sale, drug paraphernalia and a variety of stolen electronic devices such as laptops, iPads and iPhones, Torell said.
City health officials "found numerous health & safety violations," he said. "The Englewood Fire Department and PSE&G responded to shut off gas service to the restaurant because of dangerous conditions."
City officials ordered the restaurant.
Englewood detectives and Treasury investigators arrested two employees, then moved to an apartment just behind the restaurant where the quartet was living, Torell said.
They found more pot, paraphernalia, electronic devices, Virginia taxed cigarettes, untaxed tobacco products, cash and jewelry -- and arrested two more employees, he said.
The searches produced more than 100 bags of marijuana, thousands of drug paraphernalia items – including crack cocaine pipes -- more than $20,000 in cash, $10,000 worth of gold jewelry and watches, dozens of electronics, 100 cartons of Virginia-taxed cigarettes and roughly 16,000 untaxed tobacco products and cigars.
All four men were being held in the Bergen County Jail. They will remain in custody even if they post bail, thanks to ICE detainers.
"This case is an example of citizens and multiple government agencies working together to improve a community," Torell said.
Rubel Hossain, 34
Joshim Uddin, 28
Imtiyaj Hossain, 22
Farid Ahammadm, 36
All were charged with various drug offenses, as well as with maintaining a nuisance.
Rubel Hossain and Uddin also were charged with weapons possession while selling drugs. A judge set bail for both at $60,000.
Imtiyaj Hossain and Ahammadm had $20,000 bails set.
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