Illegal dirt bikes, ATVs and drugs seized in weekend bust in New Jersey

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Monday, August 22, 2022
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Officials in New Jersey announced they are cracking down on illegal vehicles in Paterson.

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Officials in New Jersey are cracking down on illegal vehicles in Paterson and sending a message to riders.

Over the weekend, there was a successful operation targeting illegal dirt bikes, motorcycles and ATVs.

For years, owners of the illegal dirt bikes and ATVs have kept Paterson police busy as they try to get them off the street.

"We have zero tolerance for illegal dirt bikes, ATVs and motorcycles, there will be no room for lawlessness in the city of Paterson," Mayor Andre Sayegh said.

"Operation Confiscation" made an example of their determination over the weekend.

They confiscated several dozen of the uninsured and unregistered vehicles, issued 32 summonses and 16 criminal complaints -- some including drug charges.

Just up the street from the city's impound lot where they were taken are industrial roads, scarred with the skid marks of wheelies and donuts. It's where people gather to ride, speed and perform tricks, but the city says it's getting complaints from home and business owners across the city.

"Because these people are driving on two wheels, coming at you, hitting cars, we've had numerous accidents," said Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale.

On Monday, Eyewitness News met a Passaic family retrieving their bike who said they had nothing to do with the illegal activities but got caught in the net unfairly.

"We showed them paperwork, mine was a little outdated of course, which I can understand why mine got taken, but while they're taking our bike, everyone is doing wheelies, going across the yard -- they're not chasing them, but they were worried about us that we were parking, calm and quiet," Passaic resident Nadia Arguelles said.

They got the paperwork they needed to take theirs home.

The city says offenders must pay a fine: $500 for the first offense and $750 for the second, plus show proof of insurance and registration -- which the city says most owners don't have.

Now Paterson is working to pass a stiffer law to allow the city to confiscate and destroy any of the vehicles found to be unregistered and uninsured.

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