Charges stem from collaborative investigation between Division of Criminal Justice and Paterson Police Department
TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that the leader of a Paterson based opioid mill was sentenced to prison today for maintaining a controlled dangerous substance facility. He was charged in an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice and Paterson Police Department, during which over 17,000 wax folds of heroin and fentanyl were seized in the takedown.
Rafael Brito, aka “Chiquito,” 35, of Paterson, N.J. was sentenced to 10 years in state prison on Thursday by Superior Court Judge Marilyn C. Clark in Passaic County. Brito pleaded guilty to first-degree maintaining a controlled dangerous substance facility on November 30, 2021.
Deputy Attorney General Anna Gildea prosecuted the case for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Cynthia Vazquez, Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis, and DCJ Deputy Director Annmarie Taggart.
“Let this sentence serve as a warning for drug traffickers who bring these dangerous substances into our communities,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “We will continue to disrupt the opioid market in cities throughout New Jersey through collaborative investigations with local police and our law enforcement partners across the state.”
“Stopping criminals who fuel the supply of opioids in New Jersey’s communities is a top priority for the Division of Criminal Justice,” said Director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We are committed to investigating and prosecuting narcotics traffickers who profit from the suffering and struggling of our residents.”
“We appreciate the cooperation of our state partners to make Paterson safer and improve the quality of life for our residents,” said Paterson Police Chief Ibrahim M. Baycora. “The sum is definitely greater than the parts when it comes to this kind of teamwork among law enforcement agencies to stop drug trafficking. We will continue to work together to protect our city and fight the opioid epidemic.”
Brito and his girlfriend, Rosanny Prado, 38, of Paterson, N.J. were arrested on March 3, 2020 at their residence in the first block of East 36th Street in Paterson. During the execution of a search warrant at the home, detectives discovered an active opioid mill in the basement, where they seized over 17,000 wax folds of suspected heroin and fentanyl along with milling equipment and packaging materials. The residence was equipped with numerous surveillance cameras connected to two video monitors set up over the tables in the basement where the drugs were processed.
Ink stamps were seized bearing brand names linked to 10 fatal and 8 nonfatal overdoses: “Empire” (4 fatal, 5 nonfatal overdoses); “Panda” (3 fatal overdoses); “100%” (2 fatal overdoses); “777” (1 fatal overdose); “Bat” (1 nonfatal overdose); “BEE” (1 nonfatal overdose); “Call Me” (1 nonfatal overdose).
Prado pleaded guilty to third-degree endangering the welfare of a child on November 30, 2021 and was admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention program.
Brito was indicted as a result of an investigation conducted by detectives of the DCJ Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Lt. PJ Sole and Chief Weldon Powell, and the Paterson Police Department Narcotics Division, under the supervision of Captain Bert Rebeiro. Acting Attorney General Platkin thanked the Paterson Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Ibrahim M. Baycora and Director Jerry Speziale.
For Rafael Brito: Krenar Camilli, Esq., Little Falls, N.J.
For Rosanny Prado: Michael Krawitz, Esq., Paterson, N.J.