NEWARK, N.J. – A Puerto Rican man today admitted conspiring to distribute over 250 kilograms of cocaine, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Mariano Enrique Arroyo Perez, aka “Humilde,” 29, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2017 through July 2019, Arroyo Perez and his conspirators conspired to distribute approximately 250 kilograms of cocaine. They conspired to transport cocaine on private planes, including approximately 150 kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New Jersey on a private plane on Nov. 18, 2018, which law enforcement intercepted. After several men boarded a private plane in Puerto Rico destined for a Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, the pilots became suspicious, as the men were not on the manifest for the flight and their luggage was particularly heavy. Their luggage contained the 150 kilograms of cocaine. Law enforcement arrested the four passengers.
After this seizure, law enforcement learned that Arroyo Perez had coordinated this shipment. Law enforcement also reviewed judicially authorized wire intercepts that showed that Arroyo Perez and a conspirator discussed and coordinated the Nov. 18, 2018, events and shared the names of the four passengers.
The count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine carries a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentencing is scheduled for April 21, 2022.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and task force officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration in New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark, as well as special agents and task force officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. She also thanked the U.S. Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance with the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Repole of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark and Assistant U.S. Attorney Francesca Liquori, Chief of the OCDETF Unit in Newark.