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Bergen County,Man Admits Bribing State Department Employee

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Teaneck NJ,  A Bergen County, man today admitted giving a bribe to an employee of the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Luis Santos, 37, of Teaneck, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of bribery of a public official.

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Pennacchio Highlights Dangers of Sex Tourism in Dominican Republic


August 3,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Montville NJ  , Due to an increase in human trafficking violations in the Dominican Republic (DR,) Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) has introduced a Senate Resolution that would urge New Jersey residents to immediately cease travel to the Dominican Republic, unless the country takes action to combat the epidemic of sex tourism within the nation’s borders.

“Human trafficking is modern-day enslavement in which innocent people, particularly young children, are abducted, sold, and forced into the heartbreaking sex-trade and forced labor industry,” Pennacchio said. “The Dominican Republic’s beautiful beaches and mountains cannot cover-up the fact that it’s also the world’s most dangerous tourist destination for at-risk children. Ending human trafficking is not a partisan issue. This is about human rights.”
Six million tourists visit the Dominican Republic (DR) every year. The DR is frequently cited as a world capital for sex tourism. Victims of the sex-trade industry are frequently found on street corners, beaches, parks, and other popular tourist destinations throughout the Dominican Republic.

One in four of these women were forced into sexual exploitation before their 18th birthday, according to the International Justice Mission.

Sen. Joe Pennacchio’s new resolution, SR-91, aims to expose the Dominican Republic’s failure to implement protocols that would identify and assist human trafficking victims, raise awareness, and encourage the people of New Jersey to take a stand by refusing to travel to the nation. The resolution was officially introduced in the State Senate on July 1, 2018.
Over the past five years, the Dominican Republic has grown into a global source for women and children who are forced into sex trafficking; as well as young men who are sold into forced labor. In 2017, children represented more than 50 percent of the human trafficking population in the Dominican Republic.

Every year, more than a million children are exploited in the global sex-trade industry. This commercial sex-tourism market includes tourists from the United States and other countries, who travel to destinations commonly known for legal prostitution, such as the Dominican Republic. In addition to tourist destinations, the international sex-trade is fueled by weak law enforcement and dark corners of the internet.
Senator Pennacchio has sponsored a number of bills to protect children from violence.

In addition to SR-91, Senator Pennacchio also co-sponsors the “Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act,” which would require manufactures and sellers of internet-connected devices to block websites known to facilitate human trafficking. The bill would establish a reporting website or call center, this tool would allow consumers to report unblocked obscene material.

“We cannot in good faith encourage our residents to visit the Dominican Republic,” Pennacchio added. “The DR has repeatedly failed to fully comply with the minimum global standards for eliminating human trafficking. I strongly believe that this legislation could be a critical step in our fight to end the cycle of sex tourism. 20 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking. We must stand up and fight on their behalf in any way we can. I call on my colleagues in the Legislature to join me in this bold effort to stop these atrocities, once and for all.”

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Corruption Trial Witness Say Democrat Senator Menendez Lived large Dominican Republic

menednez_ridgewood trainstation_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

September 19,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, according to a resort executive Andres Pichardo Rosenberg , Democrat Senator Menendez’s stays at the luxurious Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic gave him access to white-sand beaches, a marina filled with expensive yachts and five golf courses. The seven-acre gated community on the Caribbean also boasts the top-rated golf course in the Dominican Republic, six international restaurants, a security staff of 800, and access to elite sports like pheasant shooting. Pheasant shooting in Dominican Republic you ask, yes according to testimony eggs are imported and the birds are bred for sport .

Opthalmologist , Dr. Salomon Melgen, who owns a home that the Senator stayed in Casa de Campo. has denied that the home was a bribe, describing it as a modest getaway for the doctor and his close friends and family. Rosenberg  stated that there are 1,850 private houses on the resort some costing over $10 million. Rosenberg estimated that homes in Melgen’s neighborhood are worth up to $2.5 million.

NJ Senator Menendez, 63, is accused of accepting lavish gifts from Melgen, including stays at the villa and flights on private jets, in exchange for helping the married eye doctor obtaining visas for his three foreign girlfriends and straightening out an $8.9 million tab for overbilling Medicare.

Recent testimony suggests that Menendez lived the life in Dominican Republic  , also staying at the exclusive $765 per night Tortuga Bay Hotel and Punta Cana Resort & Club where Melgen shelled out another $766 for other amenities, including golf, bars and restaurants. Mind you this Dominican Republic where the GDP per Capita $6,733 per year

Melgen also footed the bill of $875 per hour for an 8 hour pick up in a chauffeured car for Menendez in Hoboken ,credit car receipts confirm that Menendez was brought to an upscale Chinese restaurant where Melgen was waiting for both him and the vehicle.

Testimony also revealed that Immediately after the FBI raided Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen’s West Palm Beach offices, Melgen’s son-in-law contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to block the public from tracking his private jet. Melgen’s private jet had been used several times to fly Menendez between New Jersey and Melgen’s vacation home in the Dominican Republic ,these flights prosecutors charge were bribes Melgen paid Menendez in exchange for official favors.

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ICE Newark arrests 113 criminal targets in 5-day enforcement surge

ICE Arrests
June 11,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Newark NJ, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Newark Field Office arrested 113 criminal targets during an operation Jun. 5-9, as part of the agency’s ongoing public safety and national security efforts. The operation was supported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s New Jersey Field Office, the New Jersey State Parole Office, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations.

All of the targets in this operation were criminal in nature. 93% of those that were arrested were convicted criminals and 87% of them had prior felony convictions.

“The continued results of our Fugitive Operations officers and their law enforcement partners underscore ICE’s ongoing and steady commitment to public safety,” said John Tsoukaris, field office director of ERO Newark. “As part of this operation, we continue focus on the arrest of individuals who are criminal and are a threat to public safety and national security. Because of the tireless efforts of these professional officers, there are 113 fewer criminals in our communities,” he added.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is extremely proud to have assisted in this operation,” said Leon Hayward, Acting Director New York Field Office. “It is through collaborative efforts, such as the one leading to today’s arrests, that law enforcement agencies can combat illegal acts and apprehend criminals who pose a threat to the Homeland.”

“The State Parole Board is pleased to have been able to take part in this very successful fugitive operation. Cooperative efforts with other state and federal agencies serve as a force multiplier resulting in a significant public safety benefit. We are proud of the efforts of our parole officers and all that took part in the operation.” said James T. Plousis, chairman of the NJ State Parole Board.

The individuals arrested throughout New Jersey were nationals of Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Slovakia, Trinidad and Uruguay.

These individuals range from age 18 to 74 years old and all were previously convicted of a variety of offenses. Some of the convictions included sexual assault on a minor, child abuse, possession of narcotics, distribution of narcotics, robbery, trespassing, damage to property, DUI, crimes against person, fraud, sex offense against a child/fondling, threaten to kill, sexual exploitation of a minor, domestic violence, battery, theft of us government property, possession of a weapon, illegal use of credit cards, burglary, larceny, aggravated assault and illegal reentry.

Among those arrested during this operation include:

A Iraqi citizen convicted of possession of narcotics
A Honduran citizen wanted by Honduras for the offense of double Homicide
A Latvian citizen convicted of heroin sale  
A El Salvador citizen convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor
A Ecuadorian citizen convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor
A Jordanian citizen convicted of synthetic narcotic possession
A Dominican citizen convicted of cocaine sale
A Bangladesh citizen convicted of aggravated assault with a weapon

In fiscal year 2016, ICE conducted 240,255 removals nationwide. Over ninety percent of individuals removed from the interior of the United States had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.

ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security.

ERO Newark works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to enforce federal immigration laws as part of its homeland security mission.

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RHS Baseball players and their dads will be heading down to play some ball, but more importantly, to bring donations !

RHS Baseball players and their dads

November 27,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood

Ridgewood NJ, The annual trip to the Dominican Republic is fast approaching. RHS Baseball players and their dads will be heading down to play some ball, but more importantly, to bring donations of new or used baseball gear to the children of the village and much needed supplies to the local orphanage. We are looking for baseball clothing, gloves, cleats, batting gloves, diapers, wipes, cans of tuna, and vitamins. All donations are greatly appreciated. The deadline is 1/20/17 and drop-off locations are 519 Fairfield Avenue or 226 Phelps Road. Thank you in advance for your continued generosity.

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Ridgewood YMCA Offers International Summer Camp Program to the Dominican Republic


Ridgewood YMCA Offers International Summer Camp Program to the Dominican Republic

The Ridgewood YMCA is now accepting applications for its summer 2014 International Camp Program to the Dominican Republic. The program is open to teens in grades 10 through 12 and offers life changing experiences and the opportunity for personal growth while completing important service projects abroad. The trip will take place from July 6 through 14.

Gary Imhoff, Director of Marketing and Membership at the Ridgewood YMCA says, “Our International Camp Program is unique in that it is first and foremost a service project trip. The goal of the program is to challenge each participant to develop a strong sense of self confidence, independence and cooperation and an appreciation for the diversity of cultures throughout the world. However, the trip also includes exciting day trips and visits to cultural landmarks so it’s a great mix of work and fun”.

Participants in the program will work alongside local Haitian and Dominican teens on the repair and building of homes for families in need, and will also complete vital reforestation projects.

Says Imhoff, “Two of the greatest benefits a participant will gain from the program are the life- long friendships made and the interpersonal skills developed by traveling to a foreign country with a small group of people. ICP provides a wonderful cultural and character building experience for everyone involved”.

Interested participants may learn more about the program and download applications by or by calling 201.444.5600 x500.

The Ridgewood YMCA is located at 112 Oak Street in Ridgewood, NJ.