One Additional Arrest, Two Remain At Large: Investigation of Illegal Drug Sales at Secaucus Motels

Photos Courtesy of Secaucus Police Dept.

For the past five months, the Secaucus Police Department’s Anti-Crime Unit has been monitoring unnamed, local hotels and motels for the sale of illegal narcotics.  Three additional people were identified today by the Department for involvement in the illegal activity.  One has been arrested, but two remain at-large.  In September, six arrests were made and the Anti-Crime Unit seized over five ounces of methamphetamine, Fentanyl pills, more than 480 grams of suspected Fentanyl and cocaine. 

Police also announced today that the suspects kidnapped a man, bound him at knifepoint on June 25th in Jersey City, and drove him around the county in a U-Haul truck for several hours.  The reason for the kidnapping, according to police, was he owed money to the female arrestee, 47-year old Erica Festino, who also goes by the name Erika Potente.

The kidnapping victim was eventually released, but not before he was beaten.  He had also been involved in the selling of the drugs from the unidentified motels.

Secaucus Police announced in a press release that Roberto Lascano of West New York and Louis Governara of Jersey City remain at large.

According to Secaucus Police Chief Dennis Miller, on October 20th Detectives from the Secaucus Police Anti-Crime Unit, Secaucus Police K-9 Unit, North Bergen Police Department and Jersey City Police Department Major Case Unit went to the residence of Festino in North Bergen to arrest her on a warrant for the kidnapping and robbery.  

Chief Miller says, following her arrest, a court-authorized search of Festino’s residence, located on Palisade Avenue in North Bergen, was conducted.  During that search, a significant quantity of suspected methamphetamine, Gamma Hydroxybutyrate, Adderall, Ritalin and Clonazepam and drug paraphernalia were seized.  Miller adds that numerous fraudulent items, including credit cards, identifications, ledgers with banking information, mail and social security cards relating to over 100 victims, were seized  Allison Chavez, Roman Shapiro and Paige Rosado were also placed under arrest inside the residence.   

Chief Miller stated, “I am so proud of the work of the Secaucus Police Departments Anti-Crime Unit and their continued motivation to work a case until its full conclusion.  I am also appreciative of the assistance given by the Jersey City and North Bergen Police Departments.”

Specific charges against the suspects are as follows:

  • Erika Festino a.k.a. Erica Potente, 47, of North Bergen was charged with Kidnapping [2C:13-1], Robbery [2C:15-1], Conspiracy to Commit Robbery [2C:5-2/2C:15-1], Possession with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine [2C:35-5b(9)(a), Possession of CDS [2C:35-10a(1)], Possession with the Intent to Distribute Drug Paraphernalia [2C:36-3] Trafficking in Personal Identifying Information of Another [2C:21-17.3b(2)] and Credit Card Theft [2C:21-6c(1)].
  • Louis P. Governara, 49, of Jersey City is wanted on the charges of Kidnapping [2C:13-1], Robbery [2C:15-1], Conspiracy to Commit Robbery [2C:5-2/2C:15-1].
  • Roberto Lascano, 37, of West New York is wanted on the charges of Kidnapping [2C:13-1], Robbery [2C:15-1], Conspiracy to Commit Robbery [2C:5-2/2C:15-1].
  • Allison Chavez, 24, of Brooklyn NY was charged with Possession of Gamma Hydroxybutyrate [2C:35-10.2], Trafficking in Personal Identifying Information of Another [2C:21-17.3b(2)], Credit Card Theft [2C:21-6c(1)] and Conspiracy to Commit Trafficking in Personal Identifying Information of Another [2C:5-2/2C:21-17.3b(2)]. She was released pending her appearance in court.
  • Roman Shapiro, 43, of Fort Lee was charged with Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance [2C:35-10a(1)] and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia [2C:36-2]. He was released pending a court appearance.
  • Paige Rosado, 31, of Brooklyn NY was charged with Trafficking in Personal Identifying Information of Another [2C:21-17.3b(2)], Credit Card Theft [2C:21-6c(1)] and Conspiracy to Commit Trafficking in Personal Identifying Information of Another [2C:5-2/2C:21-17.3b(2)]. She was released pending a court appearance.

All of the above charges are accusations and the suspects are innocent until proven innocent in a court of law.