NEWARK, N.J. – 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 Joan Manuel Pina Dominguez, 20, a/k/a “Christian Colon,” admitted conspiring with others to operate a heroin manufacturing and distribution mill out of a home in West New York, N.J.
Pina Dominguez, of Lawrence, Mass., pleaded guilty to an Indictment charging him with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute heroin before U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark federal court. Four of Pina Dominguez’ co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty to the same Indictment: David Antonio, 30, a/k/a “Victor Arias;” of the Bronx, N.Y.; Antonio Aquino, 26, a/k/a “Jose Delorbe;” of the Bronx; and Jorge Guerra Ventura, 32, of New York, pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2011. Sandy Antonio, 35, a/k/a “Alejandro Valdez,” of West New York, pleaded guilty Dec. 7, 2011.
According to documents filed in the five cases and statements made in court:
Sandy Antonio coordinated the co-conspirators and others in the packaging of heroin on multiple occasions between Sept. 15, 2010 and Jan. 22, 2011. Heroin packaged by the coconspirators was seized by law enforcement from a commercial bus in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pa., in September 2010. On the evening of Jan. 22, 2011, the five defendants were packaging heroin in a residence located in West New York, when law enforcement received information about the operation. Officers and detectives from the West New York Police Department responded and found materials they believed to be drugs and drug manufacturing and packaging materials.
After arresting the five defendants, police executed a search warrant and seized more than two kilograms of heroin, marijuana plants, and large quantities of material and equipment associated with manufacturing and packaging drugs for retail distribution. All five defendants stated they were citizens of the Dominican Republic, without legal status in the United States. Each is subject to deportation upon completion of any prison term imposed.
The count to which all five defendants pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential sentence of life in prison and up to $10 million in fines. Sentencing for Pina Dominguez before Judge Martini is scheduled for April 11, 2012. The other four defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Martini on March 1, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of ICE-HSI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees ; Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell; and the West New York Police Department and Hudson County Prosecutors Office with the investigation that led to the guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Cook of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.