New Jersey Cop Dealt Heroin, Cocaine and Pot to Wired Witness

Paterson City police officer Ruben McAusland appears at court in Newark after he is arrested on drug dealing charges on Friday April 20, 2018.

PATERSON, NJ — Uniformed city police officer Ruben McAusland drove his marked patrol vehicle to meet with a drug dealer on Feb. 11 in the parking lot of a Paterson supermarket, according to documents released by federal authorities on Friday.

“There’s cameras here,” McAusland warned the dealer 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.

What McAusland apparently didn’t know was that the drug dealer – whose name has not been released – was cooperating with law enforcement officials to get a break on another case and that months of conversations between the cop and the dealer were being recorded, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

McAusland was arrested Friday on drug distribution charges, becoming the third Paterson cop in two weeks accused of corruption by federal authorities.

McAusland, 26, of Paterson, allegedly sold heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine and marijuana on multiple occasions between October 2017 and April 2018, according to an announcement by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Law enforcement officials said most of the alleged crimes took place while McAusland was off-duty, but that some happened while he was working.

Authorities have not revealed exactly how McAusland got the drugs he allegedly sold. But the complaint cited one instance in January when the officer allegedly told the federal witness that he would have gotten crack from a city drug bust but “too many bosses” were present.

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McAusland, whose salary is $53,271, joined the Paterson department in 2014 and 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.

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, Bustious 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.”

McAusland, wearing a white dress shirt, appeared before a federal judge, Steven Mannion, on Friday afternoon and was released on $100,000 bail. The judge ordered McAusland not to make contact with any witnesses in the case and to undergo mental health testing.

With his head bowed, 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.

Authorities have not revealed whether any other city police officers were targets of the probe.

McAusland gave himself up on Friday at the FBI’s offices in Woodland Park, officials said. The police department suspended him without pay, Oswald said.

“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.

The criminal complaint against McAusland details a series of meetings and phone conversations on 17 different days between the officer and the confidential witness.

Here are some examples cited the complaint:

On Oct. 2, McAusland allegedly sold the informant heroin, cocaine, crack and marijuana.

On Oct. 12, the cop allegedly offered the dealer a pound of marijuana, but the next day McAusland said his source had dealt the pot. “I’ll let you know if I bump into something else,” the complaint says the officer told the dealer.

On Nov. 2, McAusland allegedly met the dealer and sold him a pound of marijuana for $2,500. “How much can you buy at a time?” the officer allegedly asked the dealer.

On Jan. 25, McAusland allegedly told the dealer, “I got a big-time move that came to my table” and then made what authorities described as an apparent reference to cocaine, “I don’t know if you deal with it or not, you deal with white?”

“Yeah, hell yeah. They turn it into crack, it’s good,” replied the dealer turned informant.

“It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a K,” McAusland allegedly said.

“What? A whole key?” the dealer responded, making what authorities said was a likely reference to a kilogram of cocaine.


“How much?” the dealer asked.

“Thirty-something,” McAusland allegedly said, making a reference to what authorities described as $30,000. “I’ll hit you with a number and then, uh, we’ll talk.”

The complaint does not accuse McAusland of selling the kilo of cocaine talked about in the Jan. 25 conversation to the informant.

On Feb. 9, McAusland allegedly drove his police car to the drug dealer’s home in Paterson to discuss the sale of pills. “We make ’em,” McAusland allegedly said. “It’s pure dope.”

On Feb. 14, McAusland allegedly sold the witness 57 heroin pills for $400.

On Feb. 17, McAusland allegedly sold the dealer another 88 heroin pills for $600.

On March 16, McAusland allegedly sold 101 heroin pills for $700. During that deal, the informant asked the cop about the kilo of cocaine they previously talked about. “We gotta go down there,” McAusland said, making what federal authorities said was a reference to traveling to Texas for the drugs.

On April Apr. 1, McAusland allegedly sold the witness 1,010 heroin pills for about $7,000.

“I’m getting 100 pounds of weed coming in,” the cop allegedly told the dealer. “Two grand a pop.”

That was the last conversation between McAusland and the witness cited in the federal complaint.