News and Press Releases

Former federal immigration enforcement officer sentenced to ten years in prison for cocaine trafficking conspiracy

February 2, 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A former federal agent was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for conspiring to steal 50 kilograms of cocaine from a purported drug dealer, with the intent to distribute the drugs, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Valentino Johnson, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was a former Immigration Enforcement Agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Detention and Removal Operations in Manhattan. His co-conspirators, Kareem Middleton, 30, a/k/a “Raymond,” of Kissimmee, Fla.; and Ernie Doyle, 29, a/k/a “Diz,” of Queens, N.Y., were each sentenced on January 31, 2011, to 51 months in prison. U.S. District Judge William J. Martini imposed the sentences in Newark federal court.

All three defendants previously pleaded guilty before Judge Martini to an Indictment charging them with conspiracy to distribute and to posses with intent to distribute cocaine.

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

Johnson, Middleton and Doyle admitted to agreeing with someone whom they now know to be an ICE confidential informant to steal what they believed to be 50 kilograms of cocaine from a Newark warehouse. They admitted that once the cocaine was obtained, it was to be sold and the profits divided between the co-conspirators.

Johnson, his co-conspirators and the informant traveled to Newark on Sept. 10, 2009, the day before the planned burglary, to inspect the warehouse. They returned the next day to steal the cocaine. Once they arrived at the warehouse, Middleton used bolt cutters to cut a lock on the gate leading to the premises and also cut a lock on the door leading into the warehouse. Johnson and Middleton entered the warehouse and unloaded what they believed to be 50 kilograms of cocaine from a truck parked inside while Doyle stood watch nearby. Authorities arrested the defendants at the scene.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Martini sentenced each of the defendants to five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of ICE Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Peter T. Edge in Newark; and the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence Opiola, Northeast Region, with the investigation leading to the convictions. He also thanked the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Rick Fuentes, Superintendent, for tactical support during the arrests in this matter, as well as special agents from the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory Null, Northeast Region, for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric W. Moran of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: Johnson: Jeffrey Chabrowe, Esq., New York Middleton: Nikia Way Kahn, Esq., New York Doyle: Frank P. Arleo, West Orange, N.J.

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