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Justice News

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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Two New Jersey Men Convicted On Drug Distributions Charges

TRENTON, N.J. – Two New Jersey men were convicted today for their roles in a drug-dealing business involving the sale of cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and methylone, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Luke Atwell, 34, of Hamilton, New Jersey, and Christopher Castelluzzo, 30, of Bayonne, New Jersey, were convicted of conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute methylone, cocaine, MDMA, and marijuana following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson. The jury deliberated for two hours before returning the guilty verdicts.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

Atwell and Castelluzzo were partners in a drug dealing conspiracy that spanned 29 months. In March 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted an investigation resulting in the seizure of more than six kilograms of methylone at a drug mill in East Orange, New Jersey, that was tied to Atwell and Castelluzzo. About a month later, in April 2013, agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), seized 2.9 kilograms of methylone that Atwell intended to pick up at the Manville, New Jersey, Post Office. Agents replaced the package with a dummy package, which Atwell picked up and placed in the car he occupied with Castelluzzo. Following the arrest of both defendants outside the Manville Post Office, agents searched various electronic devices of the defendants and uncovered email communications establishing a drug distribution conspiracy dating back to 2010.

The drug charges on which Atwell and Castelluzzo were convicted carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for Sept. 3, 2015.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of HSI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly; and special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, for the investigation leading to today’s verdict.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Courtney A. Howard and Thomas S. Kearney of the Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel:
Castelluzzo: Dawn M. Florio Esq., New York
Atwell: Pasquale F. Giannetta Esq., Wayne

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
Updated May 29, 2015