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Press Release

California Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Role in Drug Conspiracy

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

TRENTON, N.J. – A California man was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for his role in a drug distribution conspiracy connected to the seizure of fentanyl and heroin at a New Jersey rest stop last year, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Luis Aponte, 50, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

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

On March 1, 2019, Aponte drove a tractor-trailer truck to a rest stop in Bloomsbury, New Jersey. The next day, he met his co-defendant, Denny Diaz, 31, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a car and gave Diaz approximately six kilograms of fentanyl. Both men were arrested shortly thereafter. Law enforcement officers searched Aponte’s truck at the rest stop and found an additional two kilograms of fentanyl and 11 kilograms of heroin inside. Diaz pleaded guilty in September 2019 and was sentenced on May 26, 2020, to 33 months in prison.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Aponte to three years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Raymond P. Donovan, New York Division; New York City Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea; and New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. This case is being investigated by the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprising agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department and New York State Police.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Fayer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.

Updated May 5, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 21-183