TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Hudson County man was indicted today by a state grand jury for allegedly possessing more than 7 ounces of cocaine that he intended to distribute.
The Division of Criminal Justice obtained a four-count indictment charging Victor M. Gutierez, 54, of North Bergen, with first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, third-degree possession of cocaine, third-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school property, and third-degree money laundering.
The charges resulted from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Drug Trafficking North Unit. On Dec. 14, 2011, a State Police detective stopped the Jeep that Gutierez was driving after seeing him meet another driver in a convenient store parking lot to conduct what appeared to be a drug transaction. After Gutierez consented to a search of the Jeep, the detective discovered several clear plastic bags containing cocaine in a hidden compartment in the rear passenger seat of the vehicle. Gutierez was placed under arrest. A subsequent consensual search of his apartment led to seizures of additional bags of cocaine, $26,500 in U.S. currency, and several digital scales. The total quantity of cocaine seized from the car and apartment exceeded 7 ounces. The state filed a forfeiture action, which resulted in Gutierez being ordered to forfeit the Jeep and the cash.
Deputy Attorney General Jamie Picard presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
The first-degree charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $500,000. The third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and fines of up to $35,000 for the possession with intent to distribute charge, $150,000 for the school zone charge, and $500,000 for the money laundering charge.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Hudson County.