NEWARK, NJ. – Brian R. Crowell, the Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Paul J. Fishman, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, announced a Newark grand jury returned an indictment today charging an alleged Newark-based drug dealer and three of his associates in connection with their alleged roles in a heroin organization which distributed kilogram-quantities of heroin in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Indictment charges James Edward Pender, 41, and Russell Fluker, 47, of Newark; Ronald Bassett, 60, of Queens, N.Y.; and Keith Eutsey, 35, of Nazareth, Pa., each with one count of heroin distribution conspiracy and one count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
Pender, Fluker, Bassett and Eutsey will be arraigned on the charges before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls on a date to be determined.
The defendants were previously charged in separate Complaints with heroin distribution conspiracy. Pender, Fluker and Eutsey were arrested on April 5, 2010; Bassett was arrested on November 5, 2010. Pender, Fluker and Bassett have been in custody since their arrest; Eutsey is out on a $200,000 bond.
According to the Indictment and other documents filed in this case:
Pursuant to federal wiretap orders, the first of which was initiated in October 2009, DEA special agents were able to intercept Pender’s telephone conversations. The monitored calls and other law enforcement information revealed that Pender was distributing large amounts of heroin in and around New Jersey during the course of the investigation. During the calls, agents overheard Pender agreeing to buy heroin from Bassett. They also observed Pender meet with Bassett on numerous occasions. Agents also learned Pender directed Fluker to deliver heroin to individuals in the Monroeville, Pa. area more than once.
Special agents were also able to track Pender’s movements from New Jersey to the Monroeville area on December 9, 2009, and witness him making a drug delivery of approximately four kilograms of heroin, which was seized from the recipient. Several hours later, Pender was observed committing one or more traffic violations by Readington, N.J., police officers as he returned to New Jersey. Approximately $339,000 in drug proceeds was confiscated from Pender at that time.
On March 27, 2010, agents monitored the activities of Fluker as he delivered drugs at Pender’s request to a hotel in Monroeville, Pa. Approximately 2 kilograms of heroin was seized from Fluker and his associates at the time of Fluker’s arrest.
If convicted, each of the defendants faces a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine on each count of the Indictment.
To date, 18 people have been charged for their roles in Pender’s alleged drug organization. Approximately seven kilograms of heroin and $450,000 have been seized over the course of the investigation. Nine defendants have entered guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Walls, including James Pender’s mother, Hattie Pender, who admitted testing the heroin for her son to determine its quality.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell, with the investigation leading to the Indictment.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sharon Ashe, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Narcotics/Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit, and Michael H. Robertson, of the Office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.