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Press Release

Union County, New Jersey, Man Sentenced To 63 Months In Prison For Role In Scheme To Smuggle More Than Three Kilograms Of Cocaine Into The United States

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

NEWARK, N.J. – An Elizabeth, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to smuggle approximately three kilograms of cocaine from Haiti into the United States, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Schirmer Monestime, 39, was previously convicted on an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton. The jury deliberated for four hours before returning the guilty verdict. Monestime was originally arrested and charged by complaint on March 5, 2013. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to the indictment and evidence at trial:

On Feb 28, 2013, while conducting routine examinations of express mail parcels arriving from Haiti, law enforcement examined a parcel addressed to Bobby Lewis, 59, of Elizabeth. The examination revealed a package containing six large picture frames filled with a powdery-white substance that field-tested positive for cocaine. The net weight of the cocaine in the picture frames was approximately three kilograms.

Law enforcement officers replaced the drugs in the parcel with fake cocaine. On March 4, 2015, an undercover postal inspector delivered the parcel to Lewis, who signed for it at his Elizabeth address. Law enforcement surveillance observed Lewis take the parcel to a nearby parking lot and signal an approaching vehicle driven by Monestime. Although Monestime did not stop to receive the parcel, he later admitted that he intended to do so.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton sentenced Monestime to three years of supervised release.

Charges against Lewis are still pending. The charges and allegations against him are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (DHS-HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola, and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry A. Kamar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel: Cynthia H. Hardaway Esq., Montclair, New Jersey.

Updated September 16, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 16-030