News and Press Releases

Queens man admits role in new jersey heroin distribution conspiracy

June 6, 2012


NEWARK, N.J. – A St. Albans, N.Y., man today admitted his involvement in a scheme to distribute heroin in and through New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Ronald Burnell Bassett, 61, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls to count one of an Indictment charging him with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Bassett was previously charged in a Complaint for the heroin distribution conspiracy.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Pursuant to federal wiretap orders, the first of which was initiated in December 2009, DEA special agents were able to intercept Bassett’s telephone conversations. The monitored calls and other law enforcement information revealed that Bassett was distributing large amounts of heroin. During the calls, agents overheard Bassett agreeing to deliver heroin to others, among them, James Edward Pender, 42, of Newark, who appeared before Judge Walls yesterday, June 5, 2012, and pleaded guilty for his part in the heroin distribution scheme. Agents observed Bassett meeting with Pender on numerous occasions. Agents learned that at least some of the heroin originating with Bassett was delivered to individuals in the Monroeville, Pa., area.

To date, 20 people have been charged for their roles in this heroin distribution investigation. Approximately seven kilograms of heroin and $450,000 have been seized.

Bassett faces a maximum potential penalty on the conspiracy count of life in prison and a $10 million fine. Bassett has previously been convicted of continuing a criminal enterprise and possessing heroin with the intent to distribute. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Sept. 11, 2012.

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 guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Ashe, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Narcotics/Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit in Newark.


Defense counsel: Ronald Rubinstein Esq., New York

Pender, James Edward et al. Indictment

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