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Sordid high school basketball scandal now in ICE’s crosshairs


By Brian Lewis

June 7, 2017 | 3:22pm

High school coach crams house with foreign ringers in squalid scandal

What started as a few probing questions about a suspicious New Jersey high school basketball program has become an investigation by federal immigration authorities.

New Jersey’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office — a division of the Department of Homeland Security — has opened a new investigation of Paterson Eastside’s hoops programs, according to NJ Advance Media. ICE officials are concentrating on how the program has been fed international players over the past six years and how the teenagers came — or were trafficked — to New Jersey.

Four months ago, NJ Advance Media reported players from Africa, South America and Puerto Rico had been brought stateside to play for Eastside’s teams since at least 2011, and that boys coach Juan Griles was housing — but apparently barely feeding — at least six of them. With the school district unable to issue proper immigration documents, they’re all at risk of deportation.

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Broken promises & disposable players: The remarkable story behind a high school sports scandal

Paterson Eastside High School

By Matthew Stanmyre and Steve Politi | NJ Advance Media for
on April 04, 2017 at 7:03 AM, updated April 04, 2017 at 5:12 PM

Andrea Aquino began her journey in Paraguay. At 6-foot-7, people in her village thought she was a freak — all arms and legs clinging to the motorcycle she and her mother sold clothes from to support themselves.

Selwyn Rodriguez and Christian Ortiz started their odyssey in Puerto Rico. Once in the mainland United States, Ortiz slept on piles of laundry and cold floors, while Rodriguez lived with a stranger who openly used drugs.

And Blessing Ejiofor landed in the U.S. on the fast track to college, via Nigeria, but her dreams were crushed by the adults she trusted most. That trust has cost her a scholarship to Vanderbilt and forced her back to Africa, where she remains a prisoner of immigration rules.

Four players from three continents — all bound by the same dream and pitch: Leave your friends and family behind, travel thousands of miles and use basketball to find a better life.

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Students eyed ‘Columbine-like’ attack on N.J. elementary school, cops say

Paterson Eastside High School

By Anthony G. Attrino | NJ Advance Media for
on March 29, 2017 at 6:16 AM, updated March 29, 2017 at 1:33 PM

PATERSON – Two high school students have been arrested on terrorist threat charges after they allegedly talked about killing their former elementary school teachers.

The students, who both attend Eastside High School, made statements about “engaging in a Columbine-like attack,” according to

The students are a 14-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy, according to Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale.