Alleged New Jersey Latin Kings gang member Michael Mendez, 42, is due in court today to face drug offenses and allegations that he locked his girlfriend in a bedroom for at least two years.
State police said in a release that their Street Gang Unit discovered the 44-year-old woman, believed to be Mendez's girlfriend, during a search for drugs at his Paterson, N.J. apartment on Thursday. Based on preliminary information, they believe she had been imprisoned in a bedroom that was padlocked from the outside for extended periods of time over the past two years and "possibly longer" – reportedly up to a decade.
Police also allegedly seized from the residence about 4,200 prescription pills worth over $100,000, 190 grams of marijuana valued at $1,900 and $22,567 in cash as they detained Mendez outside.
The woman was taken to St. Joseph's Medical Center for a medical evaluation. Mendez was arrested and charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, criminal restraint, and multiple drug offenses. He is being held at the Passaic County Jail on $1 million bail.
Mendez was twice convicted of aggravated assault in the past and was sentenced to three months in jail for one of the charges, according to court records.