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JERSEY STATE POLICE
OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE
MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR SHIPMENT OF
IN NORTH JERSEY/NEW YORK
Totowa, NJ -- New Jersey Attorney General John J. Farmer, Jr. and Colonel Carson J. Dunbar, Jr., Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced the arrest of six individuals on drug-related charges and the seizure of over 850 kilos of suspected cocaine and approximately 1,900 pounds of suspected marijuana. The cocaine has an estimated wholesale value of $20.5 million with a street-level distribution value exceeding $85 million, while the marijuana has a whole sale value of $4 million and is worth more than $15 million on the street.
this one complex case involving excellent investigative work by the New
Jersey State Police, we have stopped a significant quantity of illegal
drugs from flowing into our neighborhoods," said Attorney General Farmer.
"I commend the State Police, the Statewide Narcotics Task Force and the
other participating law enforcement agencies for the cooperative effort
that led to this seizure and these arrests."
culmination of this investigation represents a concerted effort by the
State Police and the assisting law enforcement agencies to interdict illegal
drugs before they hit the street," the Superintendent said. "This seizure
is extremely significant, having removed $100 million in illegal drugs
from the pipeline -- cocaine and marijuana believed to be destined for
street-level distribution throughout the New Jersey/New York City area."
the State Police in announcing the arrests and drug seizure was Prosecutor
William H. Schmidt, Bergen County Prosecutor, Chief John Schmidig, Bergen
County Police Department, Chief Thomas Tessaro, Fort Lee Police Department
and Assistant Attorney General Barry Goas, Director of the Statewide Narcotics
Task Force. Working together, the various law enforcement agencies coordinated
resources and law enforcement responsibilities as the investigation culminated
in a complicated series of surveillance activities, the execution of six
court-authorized search and seizure warrants and the arrest and processing
of the six defendants.
following individuals were arrested on Feb. 6 at various locations in
individual has been charged with possession of a controlled dangerous
substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent
to distribute and conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.
Additionally, defendants Torres and Reyes have been charged with possession
of a weapon. Each of the individuals remains in custody in the Bergen
County Jail in lieu of bail.
According to State Police, the investigation got underway last Friday (Feb. 4) when detectives assigned to the State Police Narcotics & Organized Crime Bureau, Narcotics North Unit, developed information through investigative leads that led them to suspect that the defendants were potentially involved in illegal activities - including the possibility that a large shipment of illegal narcotics might have arrived in the North Jersey area and was being readied for sale to narcotics dealers at both the wholesale and street level.
investigation established an around-the-clock undercover surveillance
of the suspects as they met at a warehouse/garage facility located at
779 Fairview Ave. in Fairview, traveled to various locations throughout
Bergen County and into New York City. Significantly, the undercover surveillance
of the warehouse facility revealed a tractor-trailer parked inside. During
the ensuing investigation and undercover surveillance, the suspects were
observed engaging in activities designed to avoid detection by law enforcement
Feb. 6 at approximately 3:00 p.m., detectives observed a second tractor-trailer
arrive at the Fairview Ave. warehouse/garage facility where it was met
by several of the suspects. The tractor trailer immediately left the warehouse/garage
and traveled to the Vince Lombardi Rest Area on the New Jersey Turnpike.
A short time later, the tractor-trailer previously observed parked inside
the warehouse left and also traveled directly to the Lombardi rest area.
At the same time, a late-model, brown and tan Chevrolet Econoline van
arrived at the Fairview Ave. location and entered the warehouse/garage
facility. Approximately one hour later, the Chevrolet van, which was obviously
overloaded with suspicious looking packages clearly visible through the
side and rear windows left the warehouse. At this point, State Police
detectives intercepted the van and, upon conducting a probable cause search
of the vehicle, uncovered the over 850 kilos of suspected cocaine. The
driver and passenger of the van, subsequently identified as defendants
Torres and Reyes, were arrested. Along with the suspected cocaine, detectives
uncovered a 9mm handgun in the vehicle.
the arrest of the occupants of the van, detectives maintaining the surveillance
of the two tractor trailers at the Lombardi Service area moved-in and
arrested the individuals who had remained with the vehicles. A court authorized
search warrant was obtained to search the tractor trailer vehicles - that
search revealed the more than 1,900 pounds of suspected marijuana and
$86,464.00 in U.S. currency in one tractor trailer and a large number
of pallets loaded with cardboard shipping cartons containing boxed yellow
peppers in an advanced state of decomposition. Detectives believe the
cargo of fresh peppers was used to conceal the load of illegal cocaine.
A further search of both tractor trailers revealed each with a false wall
and a hidden compartment allegedly used to hide the illegal drugs.
individual bricks of suspected cocaine were packaged in bundles weighing
approximately 25 kilos each, encased in shrink wrap and placed inside
large plastic bags. The suspected marijuana was packaged in 109 bundles
of varying weigh and was ready for street-level distribution
Superintendent credited the investigative efforts of the detectives assigned
to the Narcotics and Organized Crime Bureau, Narcotics North Unit, Intelligence
Bureau and uniformed troopers from Troop "D" and Troop "B" for their around-the-clock
work in pursuing the criminal investigation.
Division of Criminal Justice and the Statewide Narcotics Task Force assisted
State Police detectives in the preparation of search and arrest warrants
and will provide continuing legal oversight of the investigation. The
investigation will be submitted to a state grand jury.
investigation remains ongoing in an effort to determine the source and
specific destination of the illegal drug shipment. Additional arrests