Indictments Charge 15 Alleged Leaders and Members of Three Separate Cocaine Distribution Rings in Plainfield, N.J., in “Operation Snowbank”

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that the Attorney General’s Office has obtained three indictments charging 15 alleged leaders and members of three separate cocaine trafficking networks that operated in the City of Plainfield.

The Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau obtained three state grand jury indictments on Friday, March 16, charging members of three drug trafficking rings allegedly headed by Andres Hernandez-Diaz, 46, Julian Mirambeaux, 47, and Manuel Castillo-Concepcion, 38, all of Plainfield, N.J. The 15 defendants are variously charged with second-degree conspiracy; first-, second- or third-degree drug offenses; and third-degree money laundering. It is alleged that the network run by Hernandez-Diaz later was run by Luis Andino, 44, of Bronx, N.Y., after Hernandez-Diaz fled to the Dominican Republic.

All three drug rings allegedly distributed large amounts of cocaine, and the two rings headed by Mirambeaux and Castillo-Concepcion also allegedly distributed heroin.

The indictment is the result of an eight-month cooperative investigation called “Operation Snow Bank,” led by the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Central Unit, Plainfield Police Division, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, with assistance from the FBI Newark Office, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FBI Somerset Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, New Brunswick Police Department, Perth Amboy Police Department, HSI Virginia Office, Stafford County, Va., Sheriff’s Office, and the New York City Police Department.

The investigation culminated in arrests in July 2017. At that time, the investigating agencies also executed search warrants at residences in Plainfield and North Plainfield where the defendants lived and, in some cases, allegedly cut and packaged their drugs for distribution. During the operation, investigators seized over 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, over two ounces of heroin, and over $35,000 cash.

“Two of my top priorities as Attorney General are tackling drug addiction and reducing violent crime, and by dismantling not one, but three drug trafficking rings, we kept large supplies of addictive narcotics from reaching the streets of Plainfield and likely reduced the gun violence sparked by street-level dealing,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This is a great example of law enforcement agencies collaborating to marshal the resources needed for a far-reaching investigation.”

“The Division of Criminal Justice will continue to partner with the State Police and all levels of law enforcement to dismantle drug trafficking syndicates and aggressively prosecute those who run them,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The leads in this investigation extended in three different directions, and I commend our partners for diligently pursuing all of them.”

“These narcotics trafficking operations led to addiction and violence on the streets of our state,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We are putting these groups on notice that federal, state and local authorities are working together to detect and dismantle their criminal ventures.”

“This investigation is a culmination of an extensive joint law enforcement effort to dismantle criminal enterprises that threaten the safety and security of the law-abiding public,” said Brian Michael, Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Newark. “HSI will continue to pursue complex criminal investigations while using our unique statutory authorities to prevent and deter criminal organizations pushing drugs into our communities.”

“A lot of hard work went into this operation,” said Director Carl Riley of the Plainfield Department of Public Safety and Police Division. “My team is extremely thankful for our state, local and federal law enforcement partnerships that continue to help us rid our streets of illegal narcotics and gang-related activity. I look forward to our continued collaboration.”

The indictment against the ring headed by Andres Hernandez-Diaz charges the following defendants:

The indictment against the ring headed by Julian Mirambeaux charges the following defendants:

The indictment against the ring headed by Manuel Castillo-Concepcion charges the following defendants:

Deputy Attorneys General Philip J. Mogavero and Mohammad A. Mahmood presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Annmarie Taggart and Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis.

Attorney General Grewal commended those attorneys and all of the members of the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Central Unit, the Plainfield Police Division, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations who led the investigation.

Attorney General Grewal also thanked the following partnering agencies for their valuable assistance in the investigation:

First-degree drug charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison. The third-degree drug charges carry maximum fines of $35,000 or $75,000, while the third-degree money laundering charges carry a fine of up to $500,000.

The indictments are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The indictments were handed up to Superior Court Judge Robert C. Billmeier in Mercer County, who assigned them to Union County, where the defendants will be arraigned in Superior Court at a later date.

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