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Press Release

California Man Admits Role In Cross-Country Cocaine And Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

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

TRENTON, N.J. – A Los Angeles man today admitted his role in a conspiracy to traffic five kilograms of cocaine and four kilograms of heroin that were smuggled inside large pieces of hydraulic machinery, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Eduardo Barragan Zuninga, 30, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine. 

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

From March of 2015 through March of 2016, Zuninga, Fermin Nunez, 45, also of Los Angeles, and others engaged in a conspiracy to ship cocaine and heroin, and the proceeds from narcotics transactions, across the country hidden inside large pieces of hydraulic machinery.

Nunez arranged for the drugs to be shipped from California to the east coast for distribution by Zuninga and others in the New York metropolitan area. Nunez, with Zuninga’s assistance, similarly arranged for the shipment of the distribution proceeds back to California.

Execution of two search warrants at the conclusion of an investigation conducted by the FBI, in cooperation with local law enforcement partners in Los Angeles, resulted in the seizure of approximately five kilograms of cocaine and four kilograms of heroin from a warehouse in Pennsylvania, and over $260,000 in suspected narcotics proceeds from a piece of hydraulic machinery in a California storage facility. 

The conspiracy charge to which Zuninga pleaded guilty today carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2018.

Nunez previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and awaits sentencing.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, and the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (L.A. IMPACT) and the Los Angeles Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief Charlie Beck, with the investigation. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly S. Lorber of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

Defense counsel: Lisa Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton

Updated October 23, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 17-397