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Press Release

Bergen County, New Jersey, Woman Admits Role In Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergenfield, New Jersey, woman today admitted her role in a conspiracy to traffic approximately two kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Sasha Melendez, 37, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court to an information charging her with one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine. 

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

Melendez was the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of  an ongoing conspiracy to import cocaine from Puerto Rico. She was arrested on March 24, 2015 in Bergen County after she accepted delivery of a mail parcel from Puerto Rico containing approximately two kilograms of cocaine.  Melendez admitted today that she conspired with co-defendant Ramis Esteves, 33, of New York, to distribute the cocaine. 

The conspiracy charge to which Melendez pleaded guilty today carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4, 2016.

The charge and allegations against Esteves are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Cynthia L. Shoffner, and special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan M. Peck of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit.    

Defense Counsel: Stacey Van Malden, Esq.

Updated June 27, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 16-180