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Fourth suspect in Bergenfield shootings arrested

Photo Credit: Courtesy BCPO
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Courtesy BCPO

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A fourth suspect wanted in the shooting of two men in Bergenfield during a September home invasion was captured by detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Bergenfield police at an East Orange apartment earlier today.

Authorities had been searching for 24-year-old Hassan “Smoke” Sly, an alleged Crips gang member from Newark who Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said “was present during the home invasion/robbery, was armed with a gun and was an active participant in the robbery/shooting.”

TOP: Zakeer Roberts (left), Mario Ferreira BELOW: Christian Nova (PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia)

Newark SWAT team members led a raid on Sly’s apartment following the Sept. 5 shooting, but he wasn’t there, the prosecutor said. However, the search turned up a TEC-9 assault weapon, as well as heroin and packaging material for heroin distribution, he said.

“It is not believed that the TEC-9 was used in the shootings,” Molinelli said. “The weapon(s) used in the shooting have yet to be recovered.”

Today, Newark Police SWAT team members cleared the way and detectives took Sly into custody without incident, the prosecutor said.

The apartment “was being used as a drug facility,” Molinelli said. Seized were 850 decks of heroin, several ounces of crack/cocaine and more than a pound of marijuana, along with packaging materials, he said.

That meant additional drug counts for Sly, who already was  charged with two counts of attempted murder, as well as armed robbery, armed burglary and several other offenses.

Sly was being held on $1 million bail in the Bergen County Jail.

Two of his accused associates – Zakeer Roberts, 24, of East Orange and Mario Ferreira, 23, of Succasunna, NJ – were also armed when the victims were shot at a Westwide Avenue home, the prosecutor said.

Roberts and Fereira were arrested the next day by Molinelli’s detectives with help from East Orange police and the Newark SWAT team. Both were being held on $1 million bail in the Bergen County Jail.

A third man, 21-year-old Christian Nova of Englewood, was arrested the night of the incident and charged with arranging the holdup.

Authorities investigating the case made no mention of a third assailant entering the house — apparently in an attempt not to tip him off.

The victims, Gilbert Mercado, 21, and 31-year-old John Newcomb were continuing to recover, Molinelli said today.

Newcomb was shot once in the lower torso area and Mercado in the chest, he said.

* * * * *

CLIFFVIEW PILOT was the first to report both the shootings and the initial arrests:

  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Two men were shot and wounded, one seriously, in the south end of Bergenfield this morning. READ MORE….

    Mario Ferreira, Zakeer Roberts, Christian Nova (MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHSERIFF’S OFFICE)

  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Three men have been arrested and charged in a drug robbery gone wrong that led to the shootings yesterday of two Bergenfield men, one seriously, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said shortly before 6 p.m. READ MORE….


  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A lawyer for a man accused of arranging a Labor Day weekend drug and cash robbery in Bergenfield that ended with two men shot — one seriously — asked a judge today to lower his client’s bail, citing his ties to the community and his family. READ MORE….

* * * * *

Nova had told Ferriera that Mercado “was known as having sold narcotics in the past and would have both money and narcotics in his possession,” Molinelli said in September. Nova “had some past dealings with Mercado” and “arranged for Mercado to be robbed by both [men],” he said.

Bergenfield police responded to a 911 call at the house Sunday morning and found both Mercado and John Newcomb, who also lives there, shot.


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