FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2012
NEWARK, N.J.– A Newark grand jury today returned an Indictment against two men connected to a seizure of approximately 40 kilos of cocaine and nearly $3 million in cash in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The Indictment charges Leonardo Blanco, 52, and Michael Jiminez,19, of Englewood Cliffs, with one count of conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
Both defendants were previously charged by Complaint and arrested Oct. 5, 2011. They have been in federal custody since that time.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Acting on information from state law enforcement, federal law enforcement established surveillance which led to observation of suspicious activity by Blanco. During a consensual search of two residences by agents and officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration on Oct. 5, 2011, law enforcement seized approximately 40 kilos of cocaine and more than $2.9 million in cash.
The cocaine and some of the currency were hidden in concealed compartments within household furniture. Other currency either was packaged in heat-sealed plastic bags or stacked in bundles on top of bedroom furniture.
Law enforcement arrested Blanco and Jiminez the same day, after observing Jiminez operating a heat-sealing machine in a bedroom containing heat-sealed bags of cash and a number of unused bags.
If convicted of the narcotics offense, each defendant faces a minimum potential penalty of 10 years in prison; and a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell – along with the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office; and the Paterson, Jersey City, East Rutherford, Englewood Cliffs and Englewood, N.J., police departments – for the investigation leading to the Indictment.
The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rodney Villazor of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Narcotics/Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit in Newark.
Leonardo Blanco: David Goldstein Esq., Bronx, N.Y.
Michael Jiminez: Luis O. Diaz Esq., New York