TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that two drug traffickers from Texas were sentenced to state prison 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, 34, was sentenced today to 12 years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Philip E. Haines in Atlantic County. Cristano Ramirez, 31, was sentenced today by Judge Haines to 10 years in prison, including three years of parole ineligibility. Both defendants pleaded guilty on June 26 to first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
Deputy Attorney General James Ruberton of the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau prosecuted the two defendants on behalf of the Atlantic City Task Force and handled the sentencing.
Salgado and Ramirez were arrested in October 2016 in 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, 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 dealing kilogram quantities of cocaine into South Jersey. The investigating agencies learned that the two defendants 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 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.
“Over the past six years, the Atlantic City Task Force has made hundreds of arrests of drug dealers and violent felons, seizing guns and large quantities of narcotics,” said Attorney General Porrino. “This is another example of the excellent work they are doing to protect the people of Atlantic City and the surrounding communities.”
“We’ve ensured that these major drug traffickers will spend a long time behind bars, where they can no longer fuel addiction and violence in our communities,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “I commend the Atlantic City Task Force and its federal partners for this bust and all of the proactive work they do to target drug dealing and violent crime in the region.”
Since its formation in 2011, the Atlantic City Task Force has made more than 965 arrests and has executed over 100 search warrants. The task force has seized nearly 100 guns and a total of approximately 12 kilos of heroin, 13 kilos of cocaine, and almost half a million dollars in U.S. currency.
For Salgado: Mark Fury, Esq., Mount Holly, N.J.
For Ramirez: Mark A. Bernstein, Esq., Cherry Hill, N.J.
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