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Police: Violent drug gang member nabbed in West Reading

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 16 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2013 11:46:53 AM CDT

Police: Violent gang member nabbed in West Reading

WEST READING, Pa. -

A man wanted by the FBI is off the streets tonight, thanks to the sharp eye of one Berks County officer.

Juan Rivera Cruz caught the attention of a West Reading police officer, not because of his criminal past, but because he was riding a bicycle at night without a light, which is a traffic violation, police said.

Cruz, 21, was stopped near Reading Avenue, near Olive Streets, in West Reading late Monday night, but police said he couldn't produce any identification.

Police scanned his fingerprints, and that's when they discovered Cruz was wanted by the FBI for his alleged role in a drug-dealing gang out of Puerto Rico.

Cruz is just one of several criminal suspects caught hiding from the law in Berks County over the past few years.

"Families move here from New York or whatever, where they have family ties here originally, and they think they can just come back here and hide, but obviously they can't," said Sgt. Keith Phillips, West Reading Police Dept.

The 44-member gang Cruz is accused of being a part of allegedly distributed cocaine, heroin and marijuana. It was dismantled by the FBI, but officials said Cruz managed to get away.

They said he continued his criminal lifestyle in Milwaukee where he faces charges of burglary.

Cruz is behind bars at the Berks County Jail and soon will be extradited to Milwaukee and then to Puerto Rico, where he'll face charges in connection with drug trafficking.

If found guilty, officials said Cruz could spend the rest of his life behind bars.