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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Monday, February 26, 2018

California Man Admits Cross-Country Conspiracy To Distribute Over 141 Kilograms Of Heroin And Cocaine

TRENTON, N.J. – A National City, California, man today pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to transport 141 kilograms of narcotics from California to New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Hector Lucas-Ramos, 42, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and five kilograms of cocaine.

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

On Aug. 27, 2017, Lucas-Ramos was arrested in Essex County while he and Abraham Castro, 33, of San Diego, California, were driving a tractor trailer. After the tractor trailer was seen committing several traffic violations, law enforcement officers conducted a motor vehicle stop. During a subsequent search of the tractor trailer, law enforcement officers recovered five large duffle bags containing a total of 56 kilograms of heroin and 85 kilograms of cocaine.

Lucas-Ramos admitted today that he and Castro drove the tractor trailer from California to deliver the narcotics to other conspirators in New Jersey.

The conspiracy charge to which Lucas-Ramos pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a $10 million fine. His sentencing is scheduled for June 27, 2018. Castro pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy on Nov. 14, 2017, and awaits sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)/Narcotics Unit.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson in Newark, with the investigation.

This case is being conducted under the auspices of the OCDETF. 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.

Defense counsel: Paula Notari Esq. New York

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
Updated February 26, 2018