Michael Mendez, a 42-year old man from Paterson and a reputed member of the violent Latin Kings gang, pled guilty yesterday at the Passaic County Superior Court to charges that he locked his girlfriend in his bedroom for months at a time and possessed large quantities of drugs.
Mendez was arrested in August of 2012 when officials from the Attorney General’s office were searching his home for drugs and found the 44-year old victim, his girlfriend, in his bedroom that had been padlocked shut from the outside. Authorities said that she had been locked in the bedroom for extended periods of time for at least two years before Mendez’s arrest. She later appeared in court and denied the accusations, claiming that she asked to be locked in.
Officials also found the target of their search inside Mendez’s home – 4,200 prescription pills, 190 grams of marijuana, and $22,000 in cash.
Mendez pled guilty to Criminal Restraint and Possession of CDS. His plea agreement with the State’s Department of Justice calls for him to serve 5 years in New Jersey State Prison with an 18-month period of parole ineligibility (likely due to the serious nature of the charges and his prior criminal record). He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28th.
For more information, see the NJ.com article entitled, “Paterson gang member who kept girlfriend locked in bedroom pleads guilty.”