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Gloucester City Mayor and Police Chief Concerned about Increase in Crime at Crescent Trailer Park

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William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews

GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (October 8, 2019)—There have been several high-profile crimes this year at the Crescent Mobile Home Park, 1400 Crescent Blvd. For example, Delaware authorities arrested two Mexican nationals in August who were selling heroin, cocaine and fentanyl in Delaware. The suspects, Julian Rivera-Villa, age 56, and Ricardo Perez-Guillen, age 40, both in this country illegally, stashed the illicit drugs at their Crescent Park trailer, located on Birchwood Avenue.

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David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware said at the August 29 press conference that this was the largest federal seizure of heroin and fake Oxycodone pills by Delaware law enforcement in recent memory.

Related: Two Gloucester City Residents Arrested in Delaware for Selling Heroin, Oxycodone Pills


The suspects were charged in federal court in Wilmington in connection with sales of fentanyl-laced fake Oxycodone pills in Delaware.  Perez-Guillen was arrested after selling a kilogram of heroin and 600 fake Oxycodone pills containing fentanyl in New Castle, Delaware.  Rivera-Villa was arrested outside the residence he shared with Perez-Guillen in Gloucester City, NJ. A subsequent search of that residence yielded approximately 7 additional kilograms of heroin; 3 kilograms of cocaine; 14,000 fake Oxycodone pills that tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and over $28,000 in cash.   Law enforcement also seized another 2 kilograms of heroin from a car registered to Perez-Guillen.  Those kilograms of heroin were hidden in traps located behind the car’s rear seats.

Besides those arrests there were two homicides at the Park.

One occurred in January involving 18-year-old Joel Martinez of Camden City, who fatally stabbed Alexander Medina, 20, also of Camden, at a mobile home located in the 700 block of Bertwood Avenue. Police found Medina laying on the ground outside of the home.

Related: UPDATE ON STABBING IN GLOUCESTER CITY

The other Trailer Park homicide happened on July 31. The victim, Christine Madiraca, 52 was allegedly stabbed to death. Charged with the murder was John Divetro Jr., age 51, who lived with the deceased at the trailer.

Related: Authorities Investigating Homicide at Crescent Trailer Park

An OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request asking for a breakdown of crimes at the Trailer Park for the years 2017, 2018, and 2019 revealed the following:

 

Calls for Service:

2017-(281)

2018-(220)

2019-(204) (up until September)

 

Overdoses:

 

2017-(8)

2018-(13)

2019-(8) up until September

 

 

Homicides:

 

2017-(0)

2018-(0)

2019-(2) up until September

 

 

Domestic Violence:

 

2017-(21)

2018-(19)

2019-(12) up until September

 

Theft:

 

2017-(21)

2018-(14)

2019-(10) up until September

 

Suspicious Activity/Persons

 

2017-(18)

2018-(11)

2019-(14) up until September

 

Arrests/Incident for CDS Distribution

 

2017-(3)

2018- (0)

2019- (1) up until September

 

The property, which consists of an estimated 11 acres, according to tax records, is owned by Crescent Mobile Home Park LLC of Bloomfield Township, Michigan. OPRA results revealed the  owner paid an estimated $79,656 in property taxes to the city in 2017.

The Mobile Homes Village website, states the park consists of 212 trailers. It was built in 1949. (See image below)

 

Police Chief Brian Morrell was asked if he felt there was an increase in crime at the Trailer Park. Morrell said, "It is hard to compare if there are more crimes at the Trailer Park than any other area in the city. Our computer system is not set up that way. I will say in the 20 years that I have worked for the Gloucester City PD the calls have increased. And, I believe the crime has increased at that location too."

 

Morrell said, "Further study is needed before we proceed with any of the ideas that we are looking into. We are keeping a close eye on the Trailer Park, and, we will adjust our patrols accordingly as we do with other sections of the city whenever there is an increase in crime in any area of the city."

 

In 2007-08, the city purchased the Chatham Square Apartment complex because of the drug problem there. One incident involved a unknown person (s) shooting the window out of a police vehicle why the officers were investigating a problem in one of the apartments.

 

Related: Gloucester City Sells the 100 Chatham Square Apartments for $1.5 Million with Contingencies

 

Mayor Dan Spencer was asked if there was any truth to the rumor the city was thinking about buying the trailer park because of the increase in crime.

 

During a telephone interview Spencer said, "We are considering all options. That is all I am going to say about that."

 

Spencer said, "After the most recent domestic murder, and the drug raid by Delaware Police I asked the Police Chief to compile a list of all the complaints we have had on the trailer park for the past three years. I understand that the company who owns it is from Michigan. We have a police committee meeting this afternoon. (Monday, October 7)  I am going to instruct the solicitor to send a letter to the owner asking him to appear before council so we can meet with him and address our concerns with his property."

 

Asked about the ramshackle appearance of some of the trailers, Spencer said he has driven through the park and is aware of that condition. "As you know those trailers are private property. The only time we can inspect them is when there is a change in ownership. When that happens the new owner needs a certificate of occupancy before  moving into the trailer. We can get repairs made at that time. Out of all those trailers, there is only one that is a rental. So that is subject to the yearly rental inspection.  I need to speak with the owners in person so we can tell him we are not happy with the condition of some of the trailers. And, we wish he would get a handle on the condition of the trailer park."

 

"I don't think the city wants to or needs to buy it. I don't want another Chatham Square situation. I am not happy about what is happening out there and we are staying on top of it," Spencer said.

*******

We asked the mayor what else was happening in the city that would be of interest to the public. Specifically what capital improvements were planned in this year's budget.

 

Spencer said, "Presently we have two major sewer breaks. One in the 900 block of Bergen Street and one at  Sussex at Ridgeway Streets. Just to repair those two breaks we are talking between $800,000 and a million dollars. Our capital improvement monies are going to be spent on infrastructure. We also have to buy a new fire truck this year along with a new street sweeper. We have been spending so much on repairs for those two vehicles it is cheaper for us to purchase new equipment and bond the cost out over 20 years."

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