Suspect in Route 21 slaying being held in New York

27 12 2008

PASSAIC — A police officer making a routine traffic stop Friday morning saw pools of blood in the backseat of the driver’s green Jeep, authorities said.

What happened next was a lucky twist of fate for Officer Ian Dubac. As it turns out, the motorist ended up leading police to a suspect accused of stabbing a Passaic man to death and allegedly dumping his body near an exit off Route 21.

The victim was a 32-year-old Hispanic man who received multiple stab wounds to the chest, neck and upper stomach, Passaic police Capt. Tony Zampino said Friday.

It is the fourth homicide reported in the city in 2008, Zampino said.

Zampino said he could not release further details about the case or the identity of the victim, because the man’s relatives had yet to be notified of his death.

Jaime Castro, 35, of President Street in Passaic, is facing murder and weapons charges. The driver of the vehicle, Jorge Sanchez Alfaro, 41, of Passaic, whom Dubac had stopped earlier in the day for reasons police didn’t specify, told investigators that he, Castro and the victim went to a bar Thursday evening on Main Avenue in Clifton. Zampino would not identify the bar.

Sanchez Alfaro told investigators that afterward, while he was driving home, a fight ensued between Castro and the victim in the backseat, Zampino said. Sanchez Alfaro told detectives that Castro stabbed the victim multiple times with a kitchen knife.

Castro then got out of the vehicle and dumped the body near Exit 11 in the southbound lanes of the highway, Zampino said.

Police have charged Sanchez Alfaro with two counts of hindering apprehension, one count of tampering with evidence, one count of obstructing justice and one count of endangering an injured victim.

Both suspects are Mexican nationals.

Port Authority Police, along with U.S. Customs officers, arrested Castro Friday afternoon at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. He was attempting to get on a flight back to Mexico, Zampino said.

Castro is being held in New York City, pending extradition to New Jersey, Zampino said.

Passaic Municipal Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez set bail for Castro and Sanchez Alfaro at $1 million each.

Castro worked at Los Arcos restaurant in Passaic, Zampino said.

On Friday, workers at the restaurant said they had not heard the news about Castro’s arrest.

Cristoba Nolasco, a security guard at the restaurant, said Castro had left his job about four months ago. Nolasco said Castro washed dishes at the restaurant.

As for Dubac, the arrests of Sanchez Alfaro and Castro taught him a memorable lesson about police work.

“The simplest of things can lead to the biggest break. … Who’d ever thought a $54 ticket (for a motor vehicle violation) could lead to a homicide arrest?” Dubac said.

Police are still interviewing witnesses. Anyone with information concerning the homicide investigation should contact Detective Marvin Eugene at 973-3653971. Northjersey.com

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