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Justice News

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

Monday, June 29, 2015

Philadelphia Man Admits Trying To Distribute 1.7 Kilograms Of Pure Methamphetamine

NEWARK, N.J. – A Philadelphia man today admitted trying to deliver 1.7 kilograms of pure methamphetamine in Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Aaron Vega-Castelo, 28, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

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

On Dec. 11, 2013, Vega-Castelo was stopped while driving a blue Jeep on the New Jersey Turnpike in Elizabeth. Law enforcement found four plastic food storage-style containers of methamphetamine hydrochloride and two shoeboxes containing approximately $110,000 in cash in the back seat area of his vehicle. Vega-Castelo admitted that at the time he was stopped by law enforcement, he was on his way to deliver the drugs and cash to other individuals near an Ikea in Elizabeth.

DEA testing of the seized methamphetamine revealed that it had a net weight of 1.79 kilograms and substance purity of 95.1 percent, which results in 1.7 kilograms of pure methamphetamine hydrochloride.

The charged offense carries a minimum penalty of ten years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 15, 2015.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the Narcotics and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel: Eric M. Mark Esq., Newark, New Jersey

Press Release Number: 
Updated June 29, 2015