NEW YORK — New Jersey mayors and rabbis were among dozens of people arrested Thursday in a huge anti-corruption sweep across the state, local reports said.
MSNBC television showed footage of FBI agents bringing a stream of handcuffed suspects into custody in the city of Newark. Other suspects -- reported by local media to number at least 30 -- were shown being put onto a bus.
Those arrested included the mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus, television and local press reports said. They also included the deputy mayor of Jersey City, other officials and several rabbis, WABC television reported.
The sweep was believed to be one of the biggest such actions in a state long associated with corruption and famous as the setting of the hit mafia television drama the "Sopranos."
Others snatched in the raids were the state's commissioner for community affairs and a Republican member of the state assembly, The New York Times reported.
The FBI and federal prosecutor's office refused to comment on the arrests or the charges. Prosecutors scheduled a press conference for noon (1600 GMT).
The dramatic FBI sweep comes as Chris Christie, a crusading former US attorney, steps up his campaign against the state's Democratic governor, Jon Corzine, in an election this November.
Christie, a Republican, previously won fame for his relentless and successful prosecution of political corruption in New Jersey.
Corzine is battling widespread dissatisfaction with his performance as the state reels from the national recession, spending cuts, and furloughs for state employees.