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Press Release

New Jersey Man Convicted Of Drug Trafficking In Connection With Largest Seizure Of Methamphetamine In The History Of DEA’s Philadelphia Division

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on October 29, 2021, David Jusino Ramirez, age 65, a New Jersey resident, was convicted of drug trafficking offenses after a five-day jury trial before United States District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion.

According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the evidence presented at trial showed that Jusino Ramirez worked as a commercial truck driver who, in addition to legitimate cargo, transported illegal drugs from California to Pennsylvania as part of a drug trafficking organization that also involved Emmanual Roman-Figueroa, of Hazelton, and Julio Romero-Mancebo, of New Jersey.  On October 8, 2020, Jusino Ramirez and Romero-Mancebo drove a tractor trailer carrying over 120 kilogram (approximately 264 pounds) of 100% pure crystal methamphetamine and 3 kilograms (approximately 6.6 pounds) of fentanyl from Montebello California to a truck stop near Hazelton, Pennsylvania.  There they met with Roman-Figueroa and delivered the methamphetamine to him in exchange for $28,000 in cash.  The three men were arrested by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration along with officers from the Pennsylvania State Police and the Hazelton Police Department, who had tracked the shipment and observed the exchange.  Investigators seized the drugs and cash, as well as an additional $9,000 from Roman-Figueroa’s residence.  Hazelton PD Officers, working in conjunction with DEA investigators, had previously seized $371,000 in drug proceeds from Roman-Figueroa in July 2020.

A DEA expert witness testified at trial that the street value of the drugs seized would be in excess of $2.2 million.  If the 3 kilograms of fentanyl was sold in its pure form, it would yield over 100,000 individual doses.  The DEA expert testified that methamphetamine is sold in weights varying from single grams to ounce quantities, and estimated that the methamphetamine alone would amount to over $2 million on the street.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts of the superseding indictment, finding Jusino Ramirez guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and more than 400 grams of fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine and more than 400 grams of fentanyl.  His codefendants previously pled guilty to felony drug trafficking charges and are awaiting sentencing. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Bruce Brandler lauded the efforts of the DEA, Pennsylvania State Police, and Hazelton Police Department in disrupting this major, nationwide drug trafficking organization.  “We hope this sends a message to traffickers that we will prosecute to the full extent of the law anybody who brings these deadly and addictive substances into our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brandler.  “We will work tirelessly to safeguard our communities from drugs like crystal methamphetamine and fentanyl.  With overdose deaths at record highs, successful investigations that result in these kinds of seizures and convictions save lives.”

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Pennsylvania State Police, and Hazleton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jenny Roberts and Sean A. Camoni are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

This case was also brought as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin traffickers operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit heroin related offenses.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Each count also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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Updated November 1, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking