News Release
January 27, 2009
DEA Special Agent Douglas S. Collier, M.A.
Public Information Officer
TEL: (973) 776-1143
CELL: (862) 849-9833

Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking and Money Laundering Network Indicted Along with 15 Others as Part of a Racketeering Scheme

JAN 27 -- Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin and United States Drug Enforcement Administration ("D.E.A."), New Jersey Division, Special Agent-in-Charge Gerard P. McAleer announce that on January 26, 2009, a Monmouth County Grand Jury returned a 38 count indictment against 16 defendants following a more than one year long investigation into a cocaine trafficking and money laundering network based in Manalapan, N.J

The investigation was initiated in the Spring of 2007. It revealed that Vicente Esteves, 36, of Manalapan, was the leader of a racketeering enterprise which was responsible for the distribution of significant quantities of cocaine to Monmouth County and the surrounding area. The cocaine came from sources across the United States and in other countries. The investigation additionally revealed that Esteves hid the proceeds of his criminal activity through a "money laundering" scheme orchestrated by Dennis Krousos, 45, of Monmouth Beach, N.J., a Certified Public Accountant and Mortgage Banker with an office in Woodbridge, N.J.

The investigation, dubbed "Operation Unbounded," commenced after the D.E.A. received information that the organization was based in Manalapan, N.J., and operating in Middlesex County, N.J. The investigation ultimately revealed that the organization's method of operation was to import cocaine from the Dominican Republic and from Atlanta, Georgia, and to utilize 2 corporations, owned by Vicente Esteves, as well as other financial schemes used by Krousos and Vicente Esteves to launder the financial proceeds of the criminal activities. (For more details concerning the investigation, please see the News Release previously issued by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office on June 2, 2008, available on the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office’s website, “http://www.prosecutor.co.monmouth.nj.us/”).

The investigation revealed that Vicente Esteves employed a number of schemes with various individuals in order to grow his drug trafficking and "money laundering" empire.  He was an owner of Diamond Builders of New Jersey, L.L.C., and Bacardi Oil, L.L.C., both of which were legitimate companies that Esteves utilized to launder money.  Esteves was a primary trafficker of cocaine on the East coast and he developed routes through Canada and Georgia.  In addition, he utilized money couriers to deliver large amounts of money, generally in the amount of approximately $500,000. 

The investigation additionally revealed that Rachel Marshall, 37, of Newark, N.J., committed "money laundering" by structuring bank deposits for Leonardo Hernandez in order to purchase real property with cash.  She deliberately kept the amount of the bank deposits below $10,000 to avoid the necessity of filing Currency Transaction Reports and in an effort to prevent financial institutions from being obligated to file Suspicious Activity Reports.   Marshall also committed "money laundering" by failing to file I.R.S. Form 8300 when she received cash from Hernandez.

The 2009 Edition of the New Jersey Lawyers Diary lists Marshall is an attorney in the State of New Jersey with a law office located in Jersey City, N.J.

Several vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz utilized by Chantal Esteves, Vicente Esteves' wife, were seized during the course of the investigation. Investigators also seized homes and real property owned by Vicente and Chantal Esteves as well as U.S. currency and jewelry. The replacement value of the jewelry seized from the Esteves' Manalapan home was appraised in excess of $2,000,000 The total cash expenditures by Vicente and Chantal Esteves alone were determined to be in excess of $5,000,000 for the past 7 years.

The indictment charges the defendants named therein with a variety of crimes, including, but not limited to, second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, first degree Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances with Intent to Distribute and first, second and third degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity (commonly referred to as "Money Laundering").

The identity and bail status of the defendants named in the indictment and the crimes which the indictment charges them with are as follows:

Vicente Esteves

The indictment charges Vicente Esteves, 36, of Manalapan, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, first degree Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network, third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, first degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute, four counts of first degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, three counts of second degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, four counts of first degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, two counts of third degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, three counts of Failure to File State Income Tax Returns, three counts of Failure to Pay or Turn Over State Income Taxes, two counts of second degree Misconduct by a Corporate Official, and one count each of fourth degree Deceptive Business Practices, fourth degree Falsifying Records and four counts of fourth degree Unlawful Check Cashing.

Esteves is being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in lieu of $2,500,000 bail.

If convicted of the Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network charge, Esteves faces a maximum potential custodial sentence of up to life in prison with a mandatory 25-year period of parole ineligibility. In addition, the Court may impose a fine up to $750,000. The additional first degree crimes that Esteves is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 20 years in State Prison. The second degree crimes that Esteves is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison, the third degree crimes carry a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison and the fourth degree crimes carry a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 18 months in State Prison.

Vicente Esteves is represented by Paul Bergrin, Esquire, of Newark, N.J.

Dennis Krousos

The indictment charges Dennis Krousos, 45, of Monmouth Beach, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, first degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, two counts of second degree Misconduct by a Corporate Official, fourth degree Deceptive Business Practices, third degree Falsifying Records and four counts of fourth degree Unlawful Check Cashing.

Krousos surrendered to Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office following the return of the indictment. Krousos is free on $750,000 bail. Conditions of Krousos' bail included a "Source of Funds" hearing, the execution of a formal waiver of extradition, and that Krousos surrender his passport.

The first degree crimes that Krousos is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 20 years in State Prison. The second degree crimes that Krousos is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison, the third degree crimes carry a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison and the fourth degree crimes carry a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 18 months in State Prison.

Krousos is represented by Lawrence Bitterman, Esquire, of New Brunswick, N.J.

Chantal Esteves

The indictment charges Vicente Esteves' wife, Chantal Esteves, 36, of Manalapan, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy and first degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.

Chantal Esteves is currently free on $750,000 bail. Conditions of Chantal Esteves' bail include a "Source of Funds" hearing, the execution of a formal waiver of extradition, and that Chantal Esteves surrender her passport.

The first degree crime that Chantal Esteves is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 20 years in State Prison. The second degree crime that Chantal Esteves is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison.

Chantal Esteves is represented by Thomas Moran, Esquire, of Newark, N.J.

Hector Rodriguez

The indictment charges Hector Rodriguez, 41, of Old Bridge, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, first degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute, first degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity and second degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.

Rodriguez is currently free on $750,000 bail.

The first degree crimes that Rodriguez is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 20 years in State Prison. The second degree crimes that Rodriguez is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison, and the third degree crimes carry a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison.

Hector Rodriguez is represented by John Jay Perrone, Esquire, of Red Bank, N.J.

Michael Lopez

The indictment charges Michael Lopez, 35, of Perth Amboy, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy and third degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.

Lopez is currently free on $100,000 bail.

The second degree crime that Lopez is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison. The third degree crime that Lopez is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison.

Lopez is represented by Brooke Barnett, Esquire, of Newark, N.J.

Mark Edwards

The indictment charges Mark Edwards, 40, of Metuchen, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy and second degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.

Edwards is free on $150,000 bail.

The second degree crimes that Mark Edwards is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison.

Edwards is represented by Connie Bentley McGhee, Esquire, of West Orange, N.J.

Arsenio Alejo

The indictment charges Arsenio Alejo, 41, of Perth Amboy, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy and second degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.

Alejo is free on $120,000 bail.

The second degree crimes that Arsenio Alejo is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison.

Alejo is represented by Steven Altman, Esquire, of New Brunswick, N.J.

Jose Tapia

The indictment charges Jose Tapia, 34, of Perth Amboy, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy and second degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.

Tapia is free on $120,000 bail.

The second degree crimes that Tapia is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison.

Tapia is represented by Jonathan Gordon, Esquire, of Newark, N.J.

Miguel Yvan Tineo Paulino

The indictment charges Miguel Yvan Tineo Paulino, 34, of Hialeah, Florida, with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy and second degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.

Paulino is free on $100,000 bail.

The second degree crimes that Paulino is charged with have upon conviction a maximum exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison.

Paulino is represented by Merrill Rubin, Esquire, of New York, N.Y.

Danilo Chenpui

The indictment charges Danilo Chenpui, 30, of Hackensack, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy and first degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.

Chenpui remains at large and authorities continue to search for him. Individuals with information regarding Chenpui's current whereabouts are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Thomas Nuccio of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office's at 800/ 848-0668.

The first degree crime that Chenpui is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 20 years in State Prison. The second degree crime that Chenpui is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison.

Brijido Carlos Noyola

The indictment charges Brijido Carlos Noyola with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and first degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute.

Noyola remains at large and authorities continue to search for him. Individuals with information regarding Noyola's current whereabouts are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Thomas Nuccio of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office's at 800/ 848-0668.

The first degree crimes that Noyola is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 20 years in State Prison. The second degree crime that Noyola is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison, and the third degree crime carries a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison.

Rene Sanchez

The indictment charges Rene Sanchez with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, third degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and first degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute.

Sanchez remains at large and authorities continue to search for him. Individuals with information regarding Sanchez's current whereabouts are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Thomas Nuccio of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office's at 800/ 848-0668.

The first degree crimes that Sanchez is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 20 years in State Prison. The second degree crime that Sanchez is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison, and the third degree crime carries a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison.

Leonardo Hernandez

The indictment charges Leonardo Hernandez, 37, of Hillsborough, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, third degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, second degree Misconduct by a Corporate Official, fourth degree Deceptive Business Practices and third degree Falsifying Records.

Hernandez surrendered to Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office following the return of the indictment. He was lodged at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in lieu of $150,000 bail.

The second degree crimes that Hernandez is charged with have upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison, the third degree crime carries a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison and the fourth degree crime carries a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 18 months in State Prison.

Hernandez is represented by Candido Rodriguez, Jr., Esquire, of Westfield, N.J.

Rachel Marshall

The indictment charges Rachel Marshall, 37, of Newark, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy, third degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity, third degree Misconduct by a Corporate Official and fourth degree Deceptive Business Practices.

Marshall surrendered to Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office on January 27, 2009. Marshall is free on $25,000 bail.

The second degree crime that Marshall is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison, the third degree crime carries a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 5 years in State Prison and the fourth degree crime carries a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 18 months in State Prison.

Marshall is represented by Michael Robbins, Esquire, of Newark, N.J.

Cesar Cabrera Cepeda

The indictment charges Cesar Cabrera Cepeda, 39, of Old Bridge, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy

Cepeda is free on $100,000 bail.

The second degree crime that Cepeda is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison.

Cepeda is represented by John Tiffany, Esquire, of Newark, N.J.

Alfurquan Barringer a/k/a Alfurquan Maing

The indictment charges Alfurquan Barringer, a/k/a Alfurquan Maing, 35, of South River, N.J., with second degree Racketeering Conspiracy

Barringer is free on $100,000 bail.

The second degree crime that Barringer is charged with has upon conviction a maximum potential custodial exposure of up to 10 years in State Prison.

The next court proceeding for the defendants will be an arraignment, which is the formal presentation of the indictment to the defendants. The arraignment of those defendants whom are no longer at large has been scheduled March 3, 2009, before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci, Jr., to whom the case has been assigned.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin stated, "This investigation dismantled a significant international narcotics trafficking network which operated out of Vicente Esteves' Manalapan residence. The network relied upon sophisticated money laundering techniques designed to protect and hide the proceeds of criminal activity. The law enforcement agencies which investigated this matter are credited for their professional commitment to protecting Monmouth County and the State of New Jersey."

United States Drug Enforcement Administration ("D.E.A."), New Jersey Division, Special Agent-in-Charge Gerard P. McAleer stated, "Not only did we seize their heinous product, we incapacitated them by seizing their profits and equities along with arresting their financial facilitators."

Despite these charges, 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 State law.

The case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor James E. Jones, Director of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office's Narcotics and Organized Criminal Enterprises Bureau.

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