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Press Release

Bronx, New York Man, Admits Role in Distributing Heroin and Fentanyl from Two Drug Mills in the Bronx, Causing the Death of 15-Month-Old Child

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bronx, New York, man today admitted distributing heroin and fentanyl into New Jersey from two drug mills in the Bronx, which resulted in the death of a 15-month-old child, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Jhan Carlos Capellan Maldonado, 35, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to a superseding information charging him with one count of distributing heroin and fentanyl from a drug mill in the Bronx in December 2018. Capellan Maldonado admitted that his distribution of fentanyl caused the death of a 15-month-old child.

Capellan Maldonado also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl from a separate drug mill in the Bronx in February 2019. Six other individuals – Reimon Genao Rosario, 27; Dilson Vazquez Genao, 27; Eddie Urena Rodriguez, 39; Francisco Mercedes Gil, 35; Daury Contreras Ulerio, aka “Majimbou,” 38; and Jose Antonio Vazquez Pena, aka “Tono,” 51 – also of the Bronx, all have previously pleaded guilty to the same charge before Judge Salas.

“The defendant admitted organizing and running a drug distribution operation that prepared and packaged deadly fentanyl and heroin for sale in New Jersey. The defendant’s drug mill directly led to the death of a toddler who was present inside the apartment where this poison was being prepared for distribution. This defendant will now face justice for his role in leading this drug trafficking organization and for causing the death of this 15-month-old child. The fentanyl epidemic has caused enormous pain and suffering to our communities, including the death of the child in this case. This office is committed to combatting this scourge and holding accountable those who traffic in this poison.”

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger

“The unimaginable tragedy caused by the actions of Jhan Carlos Capellan Maldonado is hard for anyone to fathom,” Homeland Security Investigations - Newark Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Alfonso said. “The death of a toddler from fentanyl poisoning is heart-breaking and serves as a horrific reminder about the dangers illegal narcotics pose to our communities. HSI and our law enforcement partners remain dedicated to disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations that seek profit at the cost of American lives.”   

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

On Dec. 27, 2018, Capellan Maldonado was operating a drug mill at an apartment in the Bronx where he employed four individuals to store, mix, and package heroin and fentanyl in quantities for distribution into New Jersey. Capellan Maldonado admitted that while the group was preparing the heroin and fentanyl, a 15-month-old child present in the apartment ingested some of the fentanyl and died as a result. The four other individuals have been charged with homicide by the District Attorney’s Office in the Bronx.

In early February 2019, law enforcement officers learned that Capellan Maldonado was again using an apartment in Bronx to store, mix, and package heroin and fentanyl in distribution quantities. Pena stayed at the apartment in order to safeguard the narcotics and narcotics supplies. Maldonado employed five workers at a time – including Rodriguez, Ulerio, Rosario, Gil, and Genao – to assist in preparing the heroin and fentanyl for distribution, which Maldonado then distributed to customers in New Jersey.

On Feb. 27, 2019, law enforcement searched Maldonado’s apartment and found seven individuals inside, including Rodriguez, Ulerio, Rosario, Gil, Maldonado, Pena, and Genao. All seven defendants attempted to escape out a window, and all but one – Rosario – were apprehended and arrested by law enforcement officers waiting outside. Rosario was arrested at a later date. Law enforcement recovered nearly a kilogram of fentanyl from the apartment, along with materials to grind and package fentanyl for distribution.

Capellan Maldonado faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on Count One of the superseding information. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a $10 million fine on Count Two of the superseding information. Sentencing is scheduled for June 24, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of HSI Newark, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Alfonso, and special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Gould, Chief of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.


Updated January 17, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 24-022