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Press Release

Two Men Charged In Conspiracy To Distribute Over 140 Kilograms Of Heroin And Cocaine

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

NEWARK, N.J. – Two California men who were arrested in Essex County, New Jersey, with over 140 kilograms of narcotics in their possession made their initial appearances today in Newark federal court, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Abraham Castro, 33, of San Diego, California, and Hector Leonel Lucas-Ramos, 42, of National City, California, are charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute approximately 141 kilograms of suspected cocaine and heroin. They appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson and were detained.

According to the complaint:

On Aug. 27, 2017, Castro and Lucas-Ramos were arrested in Essex County while they were driving a tractor trailer. After the tractor trailer was seen committing several traffic violations, law enforcement conducted a motor vehicle stop. As law enforcement approached the driver, Castro, they observed Lucas-Ramos run to the cabin-area of the tractor trailer, where he was allegedly trying to close a large bag containing packages of a white powdery substance.

During a subsequent search of the tractor trailer, law enforcement recovered approximately five large duffle bags containing a total of 141 packages. Lab testing later confirmed the presence of heroin and cocaine in the packages.

Each defendant faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, with the investigation.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel:

Castro: John Yauch Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Lucas-Ramos: Alyssa Cimino Esq., Fairfield, New Jersey

Updated August 28, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 17-318