Supplier to Trenton Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Admits Heroin Distribution and Firearms Offenses
Second Defendant Also Pleads Guilty to Facilitating Drug Trafficking Conspiracy from Prison
TRENTON, N.J. – A Trenton man today admitted his role as a supplier to a significant drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than one kilogram of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
David Antonio, a/k/a “Pop,” a/k/a “Papi,” a/k/a “Santiago Ramirez,” 32, pleaded guilty today before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to Count One of a third superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Another Trenton resident, Wayne K. Bush, 42, pleaded guilty today before Judge Wolfson to Count Ten of the third superseding indictment charging him with using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime.
In October 2018, Antonio, Bush, and 24 other individuals were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Feb. 27, 2020, a grand jury returned a 10-count third superseding indictment charging Antonio, Bush, and five other defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and various other drug and firearm offenses. Of the 26 defendants originally charged in the criminal complaint, Antonio and Bush are the 20th and 21st defendants to plead guilty. The charges remain pending against five defendants.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From October 2017 to October 2018, the defendants and others engaged in a large drug trafficking conspiracy that operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, Chambers Street, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, and which sought to profit from the distribution of heroin and numerous other controlled substances. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that conspirators Jakir Taylor and Jerome Roberts obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from Antonio. Intercepted communications among Taylor, Roberts, Antonio, and other conspirators revealed that Taylor and Roberts agreed to obtain from Antonio, and that Antonio agreed to supply, a “motherlode” of as many as 1,400 bricks of heroin in a single delivery – equating to approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin. Taylor told Antonio that he intended to “flood the streets” of Trenton with this large supply, and Antonio agreed to supply a sufficient amount of heroin to Taylor that would allow him to do so. In communications with Taylor, Antonio indicated that he was “filling the bags” up with heroin and fentanyl. During coordinated arrests on Oct. 25, 2018, law enforcement arrested Antonio at a residence in Trenton, and recovered more than 1.4 kilograms of heroin, in addition to a significant amount of paraphernalia used to package heroin for distribution.
Telephonic communications intercepted pursuant to the wiretap order also revealed that Bush, who was incarcerated during the conspiracy on a related conviction, facilitated Taylor’s plan by providing specific advice and recommendations to Taylor on pricing and quantity, ensuring loyalty from his subordinates, and maintaining relationships with heroin suppliers.
The drug conspiracy count to which Antonio pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10 million. Because Antonio admitted during his plea to having previously been convicted of a federal drug trafficking offense for which he served more than a year in prison, he may be eligible for a statutory enhanced penalty, which would increase the statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment to 15 years, and a maximum fine of $20 million. The facilitation charge to which Bush pleaded guilty carries a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of four years, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Antonio’s sentencing is scheduled for June 30, 2020, and Bush’s sentencing is scheduled for June 29, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Sheilah Coley; 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; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Bruce Painter; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas. He also thanked officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of
Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the New Jersey State Board of Parole for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
The government is represented by Attorney-in-Charge J. Brendan Day and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in gang-related activities, violent crime, and drug distribution in and around the greater Trenton area. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
The charges and allegations pending against the remaining five defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.