JAN 16 (CAMDEN, N.J.) - Robert G. Koval, Acting 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 California man today admitted his role in a drug trafficking organization from which the government has seized $4.6 million and intercepted 89 kilograms of cocaine.
Edgar Bracamonte, 39, of California, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb in Camden federal court to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute 50 to 150 kilograms of cocaine and with one count of conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds, U.S. Attorney Fishman announced.
According to documents filed in this case and related cases, and statements made in court:
Bracamonte was a member of a sophisticated drug trafficking organization (DTO) that was responsible for transporting cocaine from California to New Jersey and elsewhere. In an effort to avoid detection from law enforcement, the cocaine was transported in secret compartments of tractor trailers, including in gas tanks. Once in New Jersey, the cocaine was stored in a warehouse in Passaic County and in “stash houses.” The narcotics proceeds, too, were funneled from New Jersey back to California in hidden compartments of tractor trailers.
From February 2011 through November 2011, law enforcement seized $4.6 million and 89 kilograms of cocaine from the DTO. Fifteen people connected with the DTO have been charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, of whom 13 have entered guilty pleas to either conspiracy to distribute narcotics and/or conspiracy to launder money.
The conspiracy to distribute narcotics count to which Bracamonte pleaded guilty is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a fine of $10 million. The conspiracy to launder money count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for April 26, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents and task force officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert G. Koval, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney José R. Almonte of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Narcotics/OCDETF Unit in Newark.