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Press Release

Philadelphia Man Sentenced To More Than 10 Years In Prison For Trying To Distribute 1.7 Kilograms Of Pure Methamphetamine

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A Philadelphia man was sentenced today to 126 months in prison for trying to deliver 1.7 kilograms of pure methamphetamine in Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Aaron Vega-Castelo, 29, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to an indictment charging him with one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Judge Arleo imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

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.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Arleo sentenced Vega-Castelo to five years of supervised release.

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

Updated October 15, 2015

Press Release Number: 15- 376