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Press Release

California Man Admits Transporting 14 Kilograms Heroin And Fentanyl

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A Riverside, California, man today admitted transporting large amounts of heroin and fentanyl from California to New Jersey for distribution in New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito; Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division; New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill; Keith M. Corlett, Acting Superintendent of the New York State Police; and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York Field Office, announced.

Joselito Colindres, 42, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over one kilogram of heroin and over 400 grams of fentanyl.

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

On Oct. 21, 2018, law enforcement officers learned that Colindres and Nester Estuardo Ruano Gutierrez were driving a tractor-trailer containing narcotics from California to New Jersey and elsewhere. After a lawful search of the tractor trailer, law enforcement officers found boxes of narcotics, including approximately 10 kilograms of heroin and four kilograms of fentanyl. Colindres admitted in court that these narcotics were intended for sale in and around New Jersey.

The count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over one kilogram of heroin and 400 grams of fentanyl carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 10, 2019. Gutierrez has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the New York Strike Force, a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The Strike Force is housed at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA; the New York City Police Department; the New York State Police; Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations; IRS-Criminal Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; New York National Guard; the Clarkstown Police Department; U.S. Coast Guard; Port Washington Police Department; and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren E. Repole of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), Newark. 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: Candace Hom Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Updated June 6, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 19-164