fifteen members of alleged drug ring arrested
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – Two members of an alleged drug trafficking ring based in Elizabeth, N.J., and operating throughout the northeast and Puerto Rico made their initial court appearances today, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Nelson Yordan, a/k/a “Carlos,” 27, of Waterbury, Conn., and Michael Rosario, 28, of Hagerstown, Md., were both charged by Complaint with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. They made their initial appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court.
Yordan and Rosario are among 15 people arrested over the past three weeks by FBI agents and local police in connection with a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing cocaine and heroin in the Elizabeth, Allentown, Pa., Hartford, Conn., and Hagersville, Md., areas.
Also charged by Complaint in connection with the alleged drug operation are: Roberto Rentas Negron a/k/a “El Duro;” Kelmit Velazquez; Antonio Vazquez a/k/a “Panta,” ; Fernando Duarte Castro; Julio Martinez Jr., 43, of Elizabeth; Lorenzo Carballo, 28, of Elizabeth; Hector Espinoza a/k/a “Will,” 27, of Elizabeth; William Crespo a/k/a “Negro,” 33, of Allentown, Pa.; Melvin Gerena a/k/a “Flaco,” 29, of Elizabeth; Marco Rodriguez, 26, of Elizabeth; Jerel Evans a/k/a “Gigante,” 25, of Elizabeth; Robert Evans a/k/a “Gigante’s Brother;” and Christian Reyes a/k/a “Enano.” Each defendant is charged with one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Three of the defendants – Negron, Velazquez and Vazquez – were arrested Nov. 30, 2012, after FBI agents learned that Negron and Velazquez were plotting to murder a rival drug dealer who had reportedly stolen one kilogram of heroin from the organization. They made their initial court appearances before Judge Falk on Dec. 3, 2012 and were ordered detained pending trial. After their arrests, many of their co-conspirators reportedly took measures to evade law enforcement, including changing cell phones and fleeing to other states.
As part of a coordinated operation, federal and local law enforcement authorities subsequently located and arrested: Duarte Castro on Dec. 3, 2012, in Newark; Carballo and Espinoza on Dec. 13, 2012, in Elizabeth; Crespo in Allentown; Yordan in Hartford; and Rosario in Hagersville; on Dec. 14, 2012. After fleeing to Puerto Rico, Rodriguez turned himself in to the FBI in San Juan on Dec. 19, 2012.
Martinez and Gerena were previously arrested by the Elizabeth Police Department on unrelated charges and remain in state custody pending their transfer to face the federal charge. The other three defendants remain at large.
Between November 2011 and November 30, 2012, law enforcement was involved in an investigation into a drug trafficking organization (DTO) operating in the Elizabeth and Newark areas. The organization had people in Puerto Rico and elsewhere coordinating shipments of cocaine and heroin through the U.S. mails to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The narcotics would be concealed in items such as candles and children’s toys. Individuals in New Jersey would coordinate these shipments, process or “cut” the narcotics and distribute the narcotics to locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and other locations.
Law enforcement in New Jersey identified Rentas Negron as the person who coordinated the acquisition of the drugs, the processing and packaging of the cocaine and heroin, the resale of the narcotics, and the distribution of the proceeds from drug sales. Vazquez frequently supplied narcotics to Rentas Negron. Reyes coordinated shipments of narcotics from Puerto Rico. The other members of the DTO cut, processed, packaged, stored and distributed the narcotics and occasionally travelled to Florida, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and other states in order to obtain cocaine to distribute in the Elizabeth area.
The counts with which Yordan, Rosario, Negron, Velazquez, Martinez, Carballo, Espinoza, Crespo, Jerel Evans, Robert Evans, Gerena, and Rodriguez are charged carry a minimum potential penalty of five years in prison, and a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The counts with which Vazquez and Reyes are charged carry a minimum potential penalty of 10 years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The count with which Duarte Castro is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in charge Michael B. Ward; U.S. Postal Inspectors under the direction of Phillip R. Bartlett; law enforcement officers from the N.J. National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, under the direction of the Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Michael L. Cunniff; the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow; and the Elizabeth Police Department, under the direction of Police Director James Cosgrove, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam N. Subervi and David Eskew of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaints are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty
Roberto Rentas Negron: David Holman, Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender
Kelmit Velazquez: Bruce Rosen Esq., Florham Park, NJ
Antonio Vazquez: Peter Willis, Esq., Jersey City, NJ
Fernando Duarte Castro: John Whipple, Esq., Chatham, NJ
Lorenzo Carballo: Frank Arleo, Esq., West Orange, NJ
Hector Espinoza: Mark Berman, Esq., River Edge, NJ
William Crespo: Jean Barrett, Esq., Montclair, NJ
Julio Martinez, Jr.:
Reyes, Christian Complaint
Evans, Jerel Complaint
Gerena, Melvin Complaint
Negron, Roberto & Velazquez, Kelmit Complaint
Vazquez, Antonio Complaint
Duarte Castro, Fernando Complaint
Carballo, Lorenzo Complaint
Espinoza, Hector Complaint
Crespo, William & Yordan, Nelson Complaint
Rosario, Michael Complaint
Rodriguez, Marco Complaint
Martinez, Julio Complaint
LNU, FNU Complaint