|TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that two alleged drug traffickers were indicted today in connection with the seizure of five kilos of cocaine by the Atlantic City Task Force and federal law enforcement partners during an investigation into cocaine trafficking in South Jersey.
Esiquio Salgado, 33, and Cristano Ramirez, 31, both of Texas, were indicted today by a state grand jury on charges of first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, second-degree conspiracy, and third-degree possession of cocaine. They were arrested last October and are being held in the Burlington County Jail with bail set at $150,000 for each man.
The men were arrested as a result of an investigation by the Atlantic City Task Force (ACTF), which includes the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, State Parole Board, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, Atlantic City Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department, Brigantine Police Department and Pleasantville Police Department. They were assisted by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cherry Hill Office, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATFE), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the New Jersey State Police TEAMS South Unit.
The ACTF and HSI developed information that the two defendants were allegedly dealing kilogram quantities of cocaine into South Jersey. The investigating agencies learned that the two defendants allegedly planned to make a sale of five kilograms of cocaine on Oct. 18, 2016 at a location in South Jersey. Salgado and Ramirez arrived at the location in a vehicle with Connecticut license plates and allegedly delivered the five kilos of cocaine in a duffle bag. They were arrested immediately afterward. The seized cocaine has a street value in Atlantic City of roughly $230,000.
“This was a great bust that promises to keep these alleged drug traffickers behind bars where they cannot deliver addiction and violence to our communities in multi-kilo bundles,” said Attorney General Porrino. “It’s exactly the type of result that the Atlantic City Task Force was created to accomplish.”
“For the past six years, the Atlantic City Task Force has effectively targeted drug dealing and violent crime in the city and beyond, in collaboration with law enforcement partners at all levels,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This indictment is another victory for the task force, for public safety, and for the people of Atlantic City and the surrounding communities.”
Deputy Attorneys General Martin Z. Steiner and James Ruberton of the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau are assigned to the case, and Deputy Attorney General Steiner presented the case to the state grand jury. Attorney General Porrino commended all of the members of the Atlantic City Task Force who worked on the investigation.
The first-degree drug charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while the third-degree charge carries a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Burlington County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.
Defense Attorneys: Undetermined.
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