|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman today announced that a Passaic County man pleaded guilty today to a first-degree drug charge for leading a narcotics supply ring that distributed millions of dollars in heroin out of a number of heroin processing “mills” and stash houses in Paterson.
Segundo Garcia, 38, of Prospect Park, aka “Moreno,” pleaded guilty today to a charge of first-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute before Superior Court Judge Greta Gooden Brown in Passaic County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that he be sentenced to 15 years in state prison, including six years of parole ineligibility. Sentencing for Garcia is scheduled for Feb. 7.
Deputy Attorney General Annmarie Taggart, Deputy Chief of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, took the guilty plea. The charge was contained in a July 12, 2013 indictment stemming from “Operation Dismayed,” an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New York Division, conducted with assistance from the New Jersey State Police and the DEA New Jersey Division.
“Garcia and his associates were supplying multiple kilos of heroin per week to drug dealers in Paterson, which is where young addicts from the northern suburbs of New Jersey were coming to obtain heroin,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “By putting drug kingpins like Garcia behind bars for lengthy terms, we are striking at the source of the poison that is fueling addiction and causing an alarming increase in overdose deaths among the very young.”
“Working with our law enforcement partners throughout New Jersey, we are devoting enhanced resources to investigating and prosecuting heroin trafficking as well as the diversion and abuse of prescription opiates such as oxycodone,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Faced with an epidemic among young people, who are becoming hooked on prescription pain pills and then switching to cheaper and more deadly heroin, we are stepping up our interdiction efforts on both of these fronts.”
Garcia was one of 15 defendants charged in July in a 22-count state grand jury indictment. All 15 defendants were charged with first-degree racketeering and second-degree conspiracy to maintain heroin production facilities and distribute heroin. Wilfredo “Willie” Morel, 40, of Paterson, aka “Christino Morel,” allegedly worked with Garcia to obtain large quantities of heroin and exercised independent leadership control over certain members of the ring. Morel and certain other defendants face additional first-degree charges of operating a heroin production facility, distribution of heroin, or possession of heroin with intent to distribute. The charges against him and most of the other defendants are pending.
The drug network led by Garcia supplied multiple kilos of heroin per week to other suppliers and large-scale dealers. The defendants generally did not sell to street-level dealers. The ring distributed heroin to dealers in northern New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. During the takedown of the ring in November 2012, detectives searched 10 houses and one vehicle, seizing three kilos of bulk heroin, another kilo of heroin packaged in thousands of glassine envelopes for individual sale, and about $255,000 in cash. The bulk heroin had a “wholesale” value of more than $300,000, and could have sold for $1 million or more once cut and packaged for sale on the street.
Investigators seized 1.5 kilos of heroin, along with packaging materials and equipment, from a heroin mill located on the first floor of 447 East 21st Street in Paterson. They seized an additional 1.5 kilos of heroin and $220,000 in cash from a second mill located on the first floor of 246 Maryland Avenue in Paterson. Workers clad in aprons and surgical masks worked at these and other locations to cut, process and package heroin for the network. Cash totaling $35,000 was seized at other locations.
The investigation was conducted for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice by Detective Travis Johnson, who was the lead detective, and other members of the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Lt. Christopher Donohue, Sgt. Ho Chul Shin, Deputy Attorney General Taggart and Deputy Attorney General Lauren Scarpa-Yfantis, who is Bureau Chief. The investigation was conducted for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office by its Narcotics Enforcement Bureau, with assistance from other member of the Sheriff’s Office. The investigation was conducted for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration by DEA Group D-32 with assistance from members of DEA Division 30 and DEA Newark Division. The New Jersey State Police Intelligence Section provided valuable assistance in the investigation.
Garcia, a Dominican national, served more than five years in federal prison for drug dealing beginning in 2000. He was subsequently deported by federal immigration authorities, but re-entered the U.S. illegally and allegedly established his large-scale heroin distribution network in Paterson.