News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2006

For further Information Contact:
DEA Special Agent Douglas S. Collier,
Public Information Officer
TEL: (973) 776-1143
CELL: (862) 849-9833

DEA Arrests Six And Seize Over 138 Pounds Of Cocaine

APR 19—GERARD P. MCALEER, the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Division announced today that the DEA and the Northern New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force arrested six (6) Colombian Nationals for conspiracy and possession with intent to and distribute over 138 pounds of powder cocaine. These federal charges resulted from an undercover operation that led law enforcement to a nearby “stash house” in which investigators and task force officers seized additional cocaine.

On 04-18-2006, Jose Tangarife, the leader of this cocaine trafficking organization, met with law enforcement officials working in an undercover capacity in Linden, New Jersey. Soon after, Tangarife displayed the cocaine and he was immediately arrested along with three others from his organization without incident. Special Agents and Task Force Officers then seized sixty six (66) pounds of cocaine located in a Jeep SUV. The investigation continued in which a stash house was identified in West New York, New Jersey. Investigators then seized an additional seventy-two (72) pounds of cocaine, totaling over 138 pounds of powder cocaine.

SAC McAleer stated “DEA and HIDTA are committed to tracking down and eliminating organizations that are going to facilitate drug trafficking in New Jersey. The cooperative investigation brought together the resources and experience of the DEA and HIDTA in order to disrupt and dismantle this cocaine trafficking organization. Further, SAC McAleer credited the cooperation of all member agencies of the Northern New Jersey HIDTA.

The following individuals were arrested and charged:

1. Jose Tangarife – Age: 43, Freeport, NY
2. Miller Cuesta - Age: 43, Linden, NJ
3. Santiago Osorio – Age: 23, Elizabeth, NJ
4. Edwardo Valencia – Age: 34, North Bergen, NJ
5. Hector Diaz – Age: 54, West New York, NJ
6. Maria Diaz– Age: 54, West New York, NJ

This investigation was conducted in cooperation with the DEA and the Northern New Jersey HIDTA Task Force which is made up by members of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), New Jersey State Police, Bayonne Police Department, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Sheriff-Bureau of Narcotics, Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, Elizabeth Police Department, Newark Police Department, Paterson Police Department, Jersey City Police Department, Fort Lee Police Department and Union City Police Department.

The investigation is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, headed by U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia. Alex Wilschire is the Assistant United States Attorney who will represent the Government.

The initial appearance will be at approximately 4:30 pm, this afternoon in New York at the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, in front of United States Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger.

Notwithstanding the criminal complaint, every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The federal complaint charges the defendants with conspiracy and distribution of a schedule II
narcotic. If convicted of the above charges, each defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $4 million dollar fine.

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