Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

August 22, 2008 -- Star-Ledger (NJ)

Plan Goes Awry For Anti-Drug 'Ninjas'

By Russell Ben-Ali, Star-Ledger Staff

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Concerned an ex-girlfriend and others in their circle of friends were descending into drug use, two young men from Clifton took their intervention to unusual heights.

First the pair, self-described admirers of the Shinobi ninja warrior culture of feudal Japan, donned masks and black SWAT-type vests early Wednesday. Then they armed themselves with swords, ninja throwing knives, nunchuks and throwing stars.

They carried letters that threatened "justified yet merciful force" to those who ignored their warnings and continued to smoke pot or, worse yet, persuaded others to try the drug.

They planned to drop the letters at the doors of friends, including one they accused of supplying the drugs to others. As assurance against counterattacks, they brought along homemade smoke bombs they'd concocted from instructions on YouTube.

But the art of the ninja, based on stealth and cunning, failed them.

At their first stop, the modern-day vigilantes delivered their fearful missives under the watchful eye of two Clifton patrolmen who happened to be standing in the shadows.

The officers quickly arrested Tadeusz Pertkiewicz, 20, and Jesse Trojaniak, 19, after watching Pertkiewicz deliver the first letter to the home of an ex-girlfriend, on Valley Road near Route 46, and run back to his car about 2:30 a.m.

"It wasn't a good idea," said Trojaniak, as he sat on the front porch of his home after spending a few hours in the Clifton city jail. "But I thought my intentions were just. That's why I stuck with it. But I wouldn't do something like this ever again."

Trojaniak, a sophomore at Montclair State University, was released on a summons and is due back in court to answer a charge of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

"Their intentions may have been good," Detective Capt. Robert Rowan told reporters. "But we tell everyone that they shouldn't take the law into their own hands because it will cause more problems for everyone in the long run."

Pertkiewicz was released from jail yesterday on $20,000 bail. He faces weapons charges and a charge of harassment for targeting the home of his ex-girlfriend, a charge he flatly denies.

"I want to be very clear, there was no intent of harassment at all," said Pertkiewicz, a Bergen Community College anthropology student and volunteer karate instructor for Clifton children.

"It's not because she was my ex-girlfriend; it was because of what she was doing."

He said she was allowing others to use her home to smoke pot.

The letters stated "Shinobi will stop your cruel and sadistic intentions with justified, yet merciful force." The correspondence accused pot smokers and drug dealers of having "committed sin of passing impurity" to others. It also said the "wind guides us to those of impure heart and intent."

But Trojaniak, a self-taught martial artist, said they never intended to physically harm the letter recipients, including one purported drug dealer on the list to receive a letter.

He said the pair had considered throwing smoke bombs into the dealer's home and calling emergency workers who would later discover the drugs.

"The only thing we were going to use, pretty much, is the smoke bombs, which were just to throw down on the floor where they'd panic and freak out and then we just run the hell out of there," he said.

Both men said the purpose of their dramatic warning was to save friends from lives ruined by drugs.

Trojaniak's father, who stood nearby, said he felt his son was trying to convey an important message.

"But it was a stupid thing, and I told him that it should be done differently," said Stanley Trojaniak, 50, an immigrant from Poland.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact