NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man today admitted purchasing more than three kilograms of heroin from a source in Bronx, New York, and re-selling it to drug dealers in Paterson, New Jersey, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Edwin Lopez, a/k/a “E,” a/k/a “Pan,” 31, of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to information charging him with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From June 2015 to May 2016, Lopez, Juan Pablo Goris-Castellano, 26, of Bronx; Carolina Almonte, 29, of Bronx; Charlie Rodriguez, 33, of Paterson; Reinaldo Rodriguez, 27, of Paterson; Victor Alfonso Alvarez Martinez, 26, of Bronx; Edward M. Stanel, 25, of Parsippany, New Jersey; and Joseph Trimarco, 28, of Stony Point, New York, allegedly participated in a drug trafficking organization that amassed wholesale quantities of heroin at multiple locations around Bronx and used couriers to deliver large quantities of heroin to mid-level drug dealers in Paterson. The heroin was either sold in the Paterson area or redistributed to street-level drug dealers in suburban areas, including Morris County, New Jersey, and Rockland County, New York.
Goris-Castellano, who was based out of Bronx, packaged and then distributed large quantities of heroin to Lopez, who operated out of Paterson. Almonte and Martinez brought the heroin to Lopez and returned to Goris-Castellano with Lopez’s payment. Lopez then sold portions of that heroin to Charlie Rodriguez, who worked closely with Reinaldo Rodriguez to resell portions of the heroin to street-level dealers in Paterson and to street-level dealers in suburban areas, including Stanel, who operated in Morris County, and Trimarco, who operated in Rockland County.
Lopez admitted he participated in this conspiracy from June 2015 until his arrest on April 19, 2016. He admitted that at the time of his arrest, he was giving a $13,500 payment to one of Goris-Castellano’s couriers in exchange for the 150 bricks of heroin.
The count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a maximum $10 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 11, 2017.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
This case was brought under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
Almonte, Alvarez Martinez, and Stanel have pleaded guilty to participation in portions of this conspiracy. Charges and allegations pending against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and they are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: John T. Somohano Esq., Paterson