$2.8 Million in Cash and Six Kilograms of Heroin Seized from North Bergen Residence
NOV 21 -- DEA New Jersey today announced the October 30 th seizure of $2.8 million and 6 kilograms of heroin from a North Bergen residence. Hudson County Prosecutor Edward J. De Fazio announced charges against Mario Villaman, Age 32, of 7306 Cottage Avenue, North Bergen , and Lazaro Jesus Veliz, Age 30, of 410 16 th Street , Union City , New Jersey for first-degree narcotics and money laundering.
On October 30, 2008, DEA Newark conducted an ongoing investigation in North Bergen. That investigation led to a search of a residence at 7306 Cottage Avenue in North Bergen, and subsequent seizure of cash and drugs. DEA and prosecuting officials believed the residence was being used as a “stash” house. The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Task Force will prosecute the case.
Villaman and Veliz were each charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Heroin) in a quantity of five ounces or more in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5a(1) and b(1) (first degree); Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Heroin) while within 1000 feet of a school in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 (third degree); Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Heroin) while within 500 feet of Public Property in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 (second degree); Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5 (first degree); and two counts of Conspiracy in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 (second degree).
At the time of his arrest, Veliz had an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear in Superior Court on another first degree narcotics case.
Villaman and Veliz are currently being held without bail. A bail hearing is scheduled for both on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 before the Honorable Kevin G. Callahan, Judge of the Superior Court. Villaman is also being detained on immigration charges.
The first-degree charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison and a $200,000 fine, while second-degree charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
Prosecutor De Fazio credited the United States Drug Enforcement Administration under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Gerard P. McAleer, whose agency conducted the investigation.
The above charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).