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Press Release

Heroin Supplier For Trenton Drug Trafficking Organization Pleads Guilty

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

TRENTON, N.J. – A Trenton woman today admitted her role in a drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed hundreds of grams of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Ileana Sanchez, a/k/a “Lilly,” a/k/a “Mami,” 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to Count One of an indictment charging her with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.

In December 2016, Sanchez and nine other members of a drug trafficking organization operating in Trenton were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin. The complaint referred to the drug trafficking organization as the “Abdullah DTO,” after its leader, Ishmael Abdullah. Sanchez is the last of the 10 defendants to plead guilty.

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

From July 2015 through December 2016, Sanchez and others participated in a drug trafficking organization that operated in the area of Spring Street and Passaic Street in Trenton.

Through the authorized interception of telephone calls and text messages, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative means, law enforcement learned that Ishmael Abdullah was a leader of the Abdullah DTO and was responsible for obtaining significant quantities of heroin from multiple suppliers, including Sanchez and Jose Joaquin Torres-Mezquita.

Ishmael Abdullah and Keith Hunter coordinated the organization’s distribution of heroin through themselves and other conspirators. Members of the Abdullah DTO used temporary prepaid phones, stash houses and cars, and spoke in code to avoid detection by law enforcement.

The conspiracy charge to which Sanchez pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum potential sentence of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 24, 2018.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, including special agents of the FBI Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Satellite Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Acting Director Pedro Medina; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; and detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri, with the investigation.

He also thanked special agents of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster; special agents of Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian A. Michael, Newark Field Office; officers of the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; and officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler, for their assistance in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Brendan Day of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

Defense counsel: John M. Holliday Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey

Updated July 16, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 18-243