TRENTON - Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that two men were indicted today on first-degree drug charges in connection with 45 kilograms of cocaine seized by New Jersey State Police following an alleged drug transaction at a Linden truck stop last year.
Javier M. Vega, 46, of Las Vegas, and Francisco Perez, 33, of Brooklyn, were indicted on charges of first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, second-degree conspiracy, and third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). Vega was also charged with first-degree distribution of a CDS.
“Out-of-state drug traffickers who think they can roll into New Jersey to conduct their illegal transactions are in for a rude awaking.” said Attorney General Porrino. “As this indictment shows, New Jersey State Police are on the lookout for criminals attempting to treat our state like an open-air drug market.”
“Thanks to alert state troopers, a massive shipment of cocaine was taken out of circulation before it hit the streets,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “As a result of their good police work, a major drug supply was interrupted and two alleged drug traffickers are now facing serious charges.”
"By seizing 45 kilograms of cocaine, we dealt a devastating blow to the trafficking network that was destined to receive it for distribution," said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. "This was a textbook narcotics investigation that was the result of exceptional attention to detail by members of the New Jersey State Police Gangs and Organized Crime Unit."
Members of the New Jersey State Police Gangs and Organized Crime Central Unit on routine patrol spotted Vega sitting behind the wheel of his tractor-trailer in a hotel parking lot in Carteret. Based on information obtained from law enforcement database checks, State Police surveillance units followed the tractor-trailer to the truck stop where it parked. Troopers then observed a BMW driven by Perez enter the truck stop, turn off its headlights and slowly approach the tractor-trailer. Perez exited the car and Vega allegedly retrieved several packages from his truck and handed them to Perez. Perez then allegedly placed the packages into the trunk of his BMW and drove away.
Based on the circumstances, an investigative car stop was conducted on the BMW on East Edger Road in Linden. As Perez stepped out of the vehicle, a large stack of money was observed protruding from his pants pocket. Sgt. Glenn Robertson of the New Jersey State Police Canine Unit and his dog Katie conducted a canine search of the BMW and Perez was arrested after Katie provided a positive alert for narcotics. Perez then allegedly stated he had 45 kilos of cocaine in the trunk.
Based on the positive canine sniff and Perez’s statement, surveillance units approached Vega and the tractor- trailer, which was still parked at the truck stop. Vega was arrested after a canine search resulted in a positive alert for narcotics within the tractor trailer.
The tractor trailer and the BMW were towed to the State Police barracks in Newark and search warrants were executed on the vehicles. Based on the vehicle searches, 45 kilos of cocaine was recovered from the BMW and $7,800 cash was recovered from Perez’s person.
Deputy Attorney General Ronald Minsky, of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, presented the case to the state grand jury.
The first-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $500,000. The second-degree charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while the third-degree charge carries a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $35,000.
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 Union County.
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