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Press Release

Essex County, N.J., Man Admits Smuggling Drugs Into Federal Detention Facility

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

TRENTON, N.J. – An East Orange, New Jersey, man today admitted his involvement in a scheme to smuggle marijuana and tobacco into the Essex County Correctional Facility, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Vladimir Sauzereseteo, 40, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into a federal detention facility. 

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

From September 2013 to January 2014, Sauzereseteo, an associate of Muhammad Subpunallah, 32, a federal detainee at the Essex County Correctional Facility, delivered marijuana and tobacco to Brian Kapalin, 67, of Maplewood, New Jersey, a lawyer who smuggled the contraband into the jail in exchange for a cash fee.

On one occasion in January 2014 Kapalin spoke with Subpunallah over a recorded jail phone. Subpunallah asked Kapalin to deliver contraband to an inmate at the Essex County Correctional Facility. After receiving $1,650 via Western Union money transfers, Sauzereseteo used the money to purchase marijuana and delivered the drugs to Kapalin, along with a cash payment for Kapalin’s service. A few days later, Kapalin met an inmate in the attorney conference room at the Essex County Correctional Facility and gave him the marijuana.

The conspiracy charge to which to Sauzereseteo pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 4, 2014. Charges against Kapalin and Subpunallah are still pending, and they are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, and investigators with the Internal Affairs Division of Essex County Jail, under the direction of Warden Roy Hendricks, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division and Rob Frazer of the office’s Criminal Division, Organized Crime/Gangs Unit, in Newark.


Defense counsel: Lorraine Gauli-Rufo Esq., Verona, New Jersey

Sauzereseteo, Vladimir Information

Updated August 20, 2015