TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Colorado man was sentenced to prison today after being convicted at trial of trafficking 31 kilograms of heroin seized from his hotel room in Secaucus by the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Anthony R. Koon, 58, of Pueblo, Colo., was sentenced today to 10 years in state prison, including over three years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Arre in Hudson County. Koon was found guilty on June 25, 2019, by a Hudson County jury of charges of first-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute, second-degree conspiracy, and third-degree possession of heroin. Koon’s state sentence will be consecutive to a nine-year federal prison sentence Koon is currently serving as the result of a drug conviction in U.S. District Court in Illinois.
Koon’s co-defendant, Alan A. Alderman, 74, of Las Vegas, Nev., was sentenced on Dec. 13, 2019 to five years in state prison by Judge Arre. Alderman was tried with Koon in June, but the jury in that trial was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on Alderman. Alderman was retried and was found guilty on Oct. 10, 2019 of second-degree conspiracy to distribute heroin and third-degree possession of heroin.
Deputy Attorneys General Omari Reid and Heather Hausleben tried Koon for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. DAG Reid and Deputy Attorney General Amy Sieminski tried Alderman in October. DAG Reid handled the sentencing hearing today for Koon. The trial teams were assisted by Deputy Attorney General Sarah Brigham of the DCJ Appellate Bureau. The men were indicted in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Violent & Organized Crime Control Bureau Trafficking North Unit and DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, Group T-42. The New York Drug Enforcement Task Force comprises agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police.
“The 31 kilograms of heroin seized in this case represent tens of thousands of doses of heroin that would have fueled addiction, misery and death if the DEA Task Force and New Jersey State Police had not interceded,” said Attorney General Grewal. “I commend the prosecutors in our Division of Criminal Justice who secured these verdicts and prison sentences, as well as all of the members of law enforcement who investigated. We are fighting the opioid epidemic on all fronts in New Jersey, expanding prevention and treatment strategies while aggressively prosecuting criminals like Koon and Alderman who traffic opioids into our communities.”
“We will continue to work with the New Jersey State Police, DEA, and our other law enforcement partners to target the major suppliers of opioids who are ruthlessly profiting from addiction in New Jersey,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Interstate drug trafficking demands an interstate response, and this collaborative, multi-jurisdictional investigation is a great example of how we target this type of criminal organization.”
“The fact that troopers and detectives were able to prevent such a massive quantity of heroin from hitting the streets is a victory in and of itself, because somewhere among the thousands of doses seized was one that would claim a life or send another spiraling out of control, consumed by addiction,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “We are committed to combating the opioid epidemic through collaborative investigations and by continuing to focus our efforts on prevention through education.”
“Drug trafficking investigations have uncovered numerous means and methods used by criminal organizations to transport illicit drugs into our communities and homes,” said Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan of the DEA New York Division. “This sentencing is the final step in bringing to justice two traffickers responsible for delivering 31kilograms of heroin into our backyard. I applaud our partners in the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General for their dogged efforts in this investigation.”
New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “As a result of interagency coordination and commitment among our law enforcement partners, two dangerous drug traffickers have been brought to justice. Heroin and other drugs perpetuate a cycle of addiction and criminal behavior which in turn threatens the safety and security of our neighborhoods. I want to thank our members and law enforcement partners for their tenacious dedication to tracking illegal drugs and intercepting them at their source before they can be distributed on our streets.”
The defendants were arrested on Feb. 1, 2016, after NYDETF Group T-42 developed information that a gold-colored Mercedes Benz linked to a large-scale narcotics trafficking organization had traveled from New York to a hotel in Secaucus, N.J. NYDETF Group T-42 enlisted the New Jersey State Police Trafficking North Unit to assist them in the investigation. The joint investigation revealed that several members of the narcotics network had traveled to Secaucus that day to meet and exchange heroin.
Initially, two men were stopped in a minivan after they left the parking lot of the hotel, where they were seen meeting with the occupant or occupants of the gold Mercedes. Those men, Oscar R. Felix, 42, of Menifee, Calif., and John M. Ulloa, 38, of Bronx, N.Y., were linked through further investigation to Alderman, who was determined to be staying at the hotel. Alderman and Koon, who was staying with Alderman, were arrested inside the hotel, where investigators discovered two gym bags secured with locks in a closet of their hotel room. Investigators executed a search warrant for the hotel room the following day and discovered 31 kilograms of heroin in the gym bags. They also found $14,300 in U.S. currency wrapped in black electrical tape when they executed a search warrant for Koon’s Jeep.
Felix and Ulloa pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to distribute heroin and each man was sentenced on Dec. 11, 2017 to six years in state prison.