Essex County Member of Newark Drug Trafficking Organization Responsible for Distribution of Over 1 Kilogram of Heroin Sentenced to 210 Months in Prison
CAMDEN, N.J. – An Egg Harbor Township man today admitted his role in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Lester Santana, 52, of Egg Harbor Township, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Christine P. O’Hearn in Camden federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Santana admitted that on numerous occasions from March 2019 to August 2020, he and his conspirators flew from to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on commercial flights from Philadelphia International Airport. Santana and his conspirators purchased multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from wholesale drug suppliers based in the San Juan area in exchange for cash payments. Santana and the other conspirators then shipped the kilograms of cocaine by overnight delivery from U.S. Post Offices in San Juan to various addresses in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, including to Santana’s residence. After the cocaine shipments were delivered, a conspirator resold the cocaine to other drug dealers in the Philadelphia area for a profit. Santana admitted that he was jointly responsible for the possession with intent to distribute and distribution of 50 to 150 kilograms of cocaine.
The drug-trafficking conspiracy charge carries a mandatory penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $10 million. Sentencing is scheduled for May 18, 2023.
Two conspirators in this case, Jose Gonzalez and Iran Soler, both previously pleaded guilty before Judge O’Hearn to conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 30, 2023, and Soler is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2023.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Philadelphia Division, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero; agents of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi; agents assigned to the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy; agents assigned to the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire; troopers assigned to the New Jersey State Police Strategic Investigations Unit South, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; and officers and detectives of the Philadelphia Police Department, under the direction of Police Commissioner Daniel Outlaw, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick C. Askin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.