Undercover Paramus Police Officer Shot During Garfield Drug Transaction

garfield drug bust police shooting case A recent undercover drug operation in Garfield has led to an injured Paramus Police Officer, charges including attempted murder and first-degree robbery filed against three defendants, and an active discussion among law enforcement about undercover drug investigations.

According to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, 21-year-old Clifton resident Patrick Morel, 19-year-old Garfield resident Melvin Guzman, and 25-year-old Passaic resident Rafael Angel Vasquez are facing charges in connection with a drug deal involving an undercover Paramus Police Officer, which took place on Tuesday, April 22nd in a parking lot located on Passaic Street in Garfield. The officer, whose identity remains undisclosed, was reportedly shot in the hip as well as the lower leg during the transaction, which involved approximately $400 worth of marijuana.

The incident was a part of a coordinated investigation conducted by detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office’s Narcotics Task Force, officers from the Paramus Police Department, and members of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. The officer who was shot during the transaction is reportedly expected to make a full recovery following surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.

All three of the defendants have been charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree aggravated assault, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. In addition, Vasquez is facing charges for first-degree attempted murder and a second-degree certain persons offense, as he is a convicted felon who is not permitted to possess a firearm under New Jersey law.

Both Morel and Guzman appeared before Judge Edward A. Jerejian in the Bergen County Superior Court on Wednesday, April 23rd, at which time Morel submitted a plea of “not guilty.” Guzman, on the other hand, appeared without an attorney and did not submit a plea. According to reports, many police officers attended the defendants’ first court appearances. Further, the State Attorney General’s Office is now overseeing the case because a police weapon was discharged during the event.

Of the three defendants in this case, Vasquez is facing the most serious charges for attempted murder. Per state documents, he has an extensive criminal record, having served at least two terms of imprisonment in the past. Vasquez was previously charged with attempted murder in Paterson in 2011; however these charges were ultimately downgraded to aggravated assault, to which he pleaded guilty. His criminal history also includes charges for receiving stolen property, robbery, hindering apprehension or prosecution, resisting arrest, and trespassing.

Vasquez, who was shot in the left arm and left leg after allegedly shooting the officer during the April 22nd incident, remains hospitalized at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson. As such, his first appearance has yet to be scheduled; however, his bail has been set at $2 million. Guzman and Morel are currently being held at the Bergen County Jail, with bails set in the amount of $750,000 each.

For more information regarding this case, access the following article: Suspects in Garfield shooting of Paramus police officer make first court appearance 


  • No promises, just a Pro!

  • Excellent Lawyer... Helped me in every step off my Case..

  • Great work

  • Best lawyer!!

  • FRO removal success!!

  • Easy to work with, straightforward

  • Kept my license

  • Father of client

  • Excellent Attorney , Charges Dismissed as promised

  • Helped every step of the way

  • Avoid mandatory jail time on shoplifting charges


  • Help

  • Did the job he was hired to do

  • Great lawyer

  • Simple assault charge was dropped

  • Top Notch Representation

  • Well worth it.

  • DUI Case Dismissed

  • 2 felony charges dismissed

  • Cameron bury

  • great attorney

  • Hands Down Professional and delivers results!!!

  • DUI case dismissed

  • 125 stars out of 10!!

  • Excellent at getting best outcome

  • Excellent Attorney

  • TRO Dismissal

  • Efficient Excellent attorney.

  • Excellent attorney

  • Travis successfully defended me in an unprecedented Final Restraining Order Trial with ease

  • Kick Ass Attorney!

  • Efficient and professional attorney

  • Great Lawyer And Great Results

  • Top Notch DUI Attorney

  • Client Domestic Violence

  • Restraining Order

  • A real pro in a time of need - DWI Dismissed.

  • The most experienced, patient and affordable attorney

  • Travis Tormey successfully had a False TRO against me dismissed.

  • Underaged Drinking

  • Underaged Drinking

  • DUI Dismissed

  • Saved me from a DUI. HIGHLY recommended

  • Restraining Order

  • Case dismissed with Data Driven Facts

  • Respectful. Attentive. Professional.

  • Trespassing and Under the Influence Disorderly Persons charges

  • If you are reading this- You have reached the right place! Undoubtedly, the BEST Law Firm in New Jersey!

  • Amazing attorney with a heart of gold

  • Exceeded my expectations, Highly Professional Attorney

  • Responsive and knowledgeable.

  • The Tormey law firm was very kind and professional

  • Expungement

  • Travis Tormey is a True Professional Who Kept Me Out of Jail

  • Saved me a whole ton of problems

  • Travis Tormey Review

  • A nightmare case, with a happy ending.

  • Elite NJ Marijuana Attorney! 5 Stars!!

  • An Excellent lawyer!

  • Great lawyer for DUI

  • I highly endorse Travis Tormey.

  • Travis Tormey Law Firm

  • Travis is a Lifesaver

  • Travis J. Tormey - Evaluation

  • Great Lawyer. Got me off exactly what I wanted

  • Consummate Professional!

  • Great Criminal Defense Lawyer

  • Good Service

  • Exceptional Lawyer

  • Exceptional Lawyer

  • Hired to defend me for aggravated assault

  • Hired to defend me in a restraning order

  • Excellent attorney, highly recommend his talents

  • DWI Counsel

  • I highly recommend Mr. Tormey

  • Great attorney

  • Travis Tormey, Esq. - Great Results!

  • Travis Tormey - Excellent Attorney-Kind and Trustworthy

  • Excellent Attorney-Trustworthy and Kind

  • An Outstanding lawyer!!! That will represent you in the correct way!

  • Excellent Attorney! You will not be dissapointed....

  • Travis Tormey Gets Results!

  • tormey

  • Success!!

  • Travis Tormey Review

  • Only Lawyer I Recommend

  • Very Grateful

  • Attorney review of Travis Tormey

  • Excellent

Experience You Can Trust

With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation. With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

The Tormey Law Firm

Areas we serve

Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Somerset County including Morristown, Denville, Dover, Mount Olive, Parsippany, Hackensack, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Fort Lee, Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ridgefield Park, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Clifton, and Wayne.

  • Hackensack Office

    254 State Street Hackensack, NJ 07601

    (201) 556-1570

    view larger map

  • Morristown Office

    55 Madison Avenue Suite 400, Morristown, NJ 07960

    (908) 336-5008

    view larger map