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Justice News

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Hammonton Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Distribute Crystal Methamphetamine

CAMDEN, N.J. - A Hammonton, N.J., man admitted today to engaging in a conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of crystal methamphetamine to customers in the Hammonton area of Atlantic County, New Jersey.

Ignacio Cuesta, 41, of Atlantic City, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman in Camden federal court to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Cuesta was arrested on June 24, 2016, in Hammonton, New Jersey after agreeing to sell two pounds of crystal methamphetamine to an undercover narcotics detective.  The two pounds of crystal methamphetamine were seized from Cuesta’s Ford Expedition, along with approximately $9,000 in cash.  Several additional pounds of crystal methamphetamine possessed by Cuesta were found hidden in vehicles and buried in a bucket in the ground in a parking lot for a local business in Hammonton.  Law enforcement officers also recovered additional cash inside the trunk of a vehicle owned and used by Cuesta, which was parked in the same parking lot in Hammonton. The total seized from Cuesta and this property was over $100,000. As part of the plea agreement, Cuesta agreed to forfeit all of the cash and two vehicles that were seized on the day of the arrest.

The drug conspiracy charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, and a maximum potential fine of up to $10,000,000.  Sentencing is scheduled for May 18, 2018.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson in Newark, with the investigation. He also thanked the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo, for its assistance.

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

Defense counsel:  Patrick Duffy, Esquire

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
Updated February 15, 2018