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University employee and nine others arrested in drug bust

University carpenter Roger Madden, 52, and nine other individuals were arrested Thursday night and Friday morning on charges of drug possession and distribution. The arrests were made in and around the American Legion Post 218 on Lytle Street in Princeton Borough north of the University campus, Lt. Charles Davall said in an interview Friday.

The arrests were made after a three-month undercover investigation by Borough Police and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, prompted by complaints from neighbors of the legion, Davall said.


"Over the last few months there had been a lot of calls from people in the neighborhood complaining that people had been selling drugs," Davall said.

Law enforcement officials, tipped off by community members, bought small quantities of marijuana and cocaine in and around the legion post's bar, where Madden was Vice Commander and bartender.

Madden — charged with possession of and intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance as well as distribution of a controlled dangerous substance — allegedly resisted arrest when police apprehended him Friday, according to Davall.

He was released on $7,000 cash bail that same day.

"[Members of the legion] find it hard to believe that [Madden] was caught up in any drug dealing," said James Moore Jr., 50, who lives in Trenton and has been a member of the legion for about 10 years. "Everyone shares the same opinion that he wouldn't get involved in anything of that nature."

With regard to the other suspects, Moore said it was his understanding that most of the other men arrested had come into the legion as guests of members.


"The main consensus was that Roger was set up," said Moore, "and that's for the court of law to decide."

"Everyone smokes that," said James Moore, 77, who lives in Princeton and is also a member of the legion. "Why's it gotta be on us?"

"Once it hits the prosecutor in Trenton, that's what counts," he added.

Rhetta Hoagland, a long-time resident of Princeton, spoke of her concern about the drug problems in the local area.

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"Of course I know drugs are being used in the neighborhood," Hoagland said. "We have lived in hell down here."

"We started our own neighborhood meetings with the police and this is one of the things we've been trying to clean up so we can live in peace," she added.

Borough Police Chief Thomas Michaud discussed the continued efforts by the police to prevent crime in the neighborhood during a press conference Friday morning. "We're going to be looking at the meeting places — places where people congregate — to make sure they're free from crime," he said.

While some community members voiced concern about the safety of the neighborhood, people spoke only positively about the American Legion.

"I was kind of surprised, but I don't think that should taint the reputation of the American Legion itself," Moore Jr. said. "If someone made a mistake inside it shouldn't have a reflection on the others."

Hoagland said she believed that the arrests would not alter the image of the legion. "I think the police did a wonderful job," she said. "No bad lights were shone on the American Legion. [The police] ran in and out."

She added that the American Legion removed its public telephone — the only one in the immediate vicinity — from the wall when members caught teenagers making calls to coordinate drug sales.

Albert Hinds, 98, who was born in Princeton and lives around the corner from the legion, spoke of more general flaws in the justice system.

"My concern is about the way the system works. The drug dealers, the little people, around here are just puppets. They're pawns in the bigger people's hands," Hinds said. "[The bigger people] are never touched."

"Some areas you don't get any publicity on. It's only in neighborhoods like this where people make a lot of noise about drugs," he added.

"More than likely it's going on but no one's going to make a drug bust on the University," Hinds said. "The University, they're humans just like us. You have drugs outside the University. You have drugs inside the University."

Vice President for Human Resources Joan Doig said the University's policy regarding the arrest of an employee is "to review the case, see what the facts are." Though she said she was unaware of Madden's specific situation, she said "sometimes the person might be suspended with pay or without pay, but it depends on the details of the case."