Esiquio Salgado, 30, and Cristano Ramirez, 33, both of Texas, were arrested on Tuesday, Oct. 18, on charges of first-degree distribution of cocaine, first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, second-degree conspiracy, and third-degree possession of cocaine. They were lodged in the Burlington County Jail with bail set at $350,000 for Salgado and $200,000 for Ramirez.
The men were arrested as a result of an investigation by the Atlantic City Task Force (ACTF), which includes the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, State Parole Board, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, Atlantic City Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department, Brigantine Police Department and Pleasantville Police Department. They were assisted by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cherry Hill Office, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATFE), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the New Jersey State Police TEAMS South Unit.
The investigation began when the ACTF received information from an operative working with the task force and HSI that the two defendants were allegedly dealing kilogram quantities of cocaine into South Jersey. The operative allegedly arranged to make a controlled purchase of five kilograms of cocaine from the two defendants on Oct. 18 at a predetermined location in South Jersey. Salgado and Ramirez arrived at the location in a vehicle with Connecticut license plates and allegedly delivered the five kilos of cocaine, which were contained in a duffle bag. They were arrested immediately after transferring the cocaine to the operative. The seized cocaine has a street value in Atlantic City of roughly $230,000.
“The Atlantic City Task Force was formed to make the city and the surrounding communities in South Jersey safer by combating the narcotics trade that often fuels violent crime,” said Attorney General Porrino. “This drug bust is a shining example of the fine work of the task force.”
“Since its formation in 2011, the Atlantic City Task Force consistently has demonstrated the value of collaboration among law enforcement agencies,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “As this arrest demonstrates, the Task Force has done much to protect the people of Atlantic City against dangerous drug traffickers.”
Deputy Attorney General James Ruberton of the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau is assigned to prosecute the case for the task force. Attorney General Porrino commended all of the members of the Atlantic City Task Force who worked on the investigation.
The first-degree drug charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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