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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Camden Man Admits Role in Drug Trafficking Organization

CAMDEN, N.J. – A shift manager of a Camden drug-trafficking organization today admitted his role in conspiring to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Jose Diaz, 29, of Camden, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb in Camden federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram of a mixture containing heroin, 280 grams or more of a mixture containing crack cocaine, a mixture containing cocaine and a mixture containing fentanyl.

A total of 19 defendants were arrested in late 2018 on drug-trafficking charges based on the FBI’s investigation of a drug-trafficking organization that ran the open-air narcotics trade on the 400-500 block of Pine Street in Camden for several months in 2018. The investigation used video surveillance, confidential informants, consensual recordings, controlled drug purchases, and several court-authorized wiretaps to uncover the inner workings of the drug-trafficking organization. The organization included street-level sellers, who worked various shifts selling drugs to customers and collecting drug proceeds. These sellers were supervised by different layers of managers, including Diaz, who, in turn, supplied them with pre-packaged heroin, some of which was mixed with fentanyl, as well as cocaine and crack cocaine. The FBI and other law enforcement officers recovered multiple firearms from different locations connected to the drug organization at the time of the 2018 arrests. 

Sixteen other members of the drug-trafficking conspiracy have previously pleaded guilty in this case. The charges against two other defendants, Juan Figueroa and Christopher Vasquez, remain pending. Their trial is scheduled for May 9, 2022.

The count to which Diaz pleaded guilty carries a mandatory penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a $10 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for March 21, 2022.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI’s South Jersey Violent Offender and Gang Task Force, South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire in Philadelphia; the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gabriel Rodriguez; the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer; the Camden County Sherriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Gilbert L. Wilson; the Cherry Hill Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Larry Robb; and the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. She also thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Department of Homeland Security for their assistance.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara A. Aliabadi and Patrick C. Askin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

For the defendants whose charges remain pending, the charges and allegations are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-530
Updated November 17, 2021