Six Individuals Indicted on Charges They Conspired to Operate a Heroin Mill and Distribute Large Quantities of Heroin in Paterson

The Division of Criminal Justice obtained a state grand jury indictment yesterday charging the following defendants with conspiracy (2nd degree), maintaining a heroin production facility (1st degree), possession of heroin with intent to distribute (1st degree), and other related offenses:

A seventh defendant, Robert Grady, 40, of Paterson, is charged in the indictment with second-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamine. Marino Pimentel-Tejada and Grady were arrested on June 1, 2016, as a result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Trafficking North Bureau targeting the alleged distribution of large quantities of heroin in the Paterson area by a ring allegedly controlled by Marino Pimentel-Tejada. He and Grady allegedly had 135 bricks of heroin in their possession when detectives arrested them as they met inside a vehicle driven by Grady on 28th Street in Paterson. A brick consists of approximately 50 single-dose glassines of heroin wrapped in a bundle. Grady also allegedly had several methamphetamine pills.

The State Police subsequently executed search warrants for Marino Pimentel-Tejada’s residence in the 1100 block of East 24th Street in Paterson as well as his vehicle. The other five defendants were inside Marino’s residence when State Police executed the search warrant. Detectives allegedly discovered a heroin milling operation, including a table overflowing with glassines containing heroin, as well as numerous boxes containing empty glassines. The State Police seized approximately 79 grams of raw heroin, 3,791 glassines of heroin, grinders, sifters, a digital scale, empty glassines, and other packaging materials from the residence. In Marino’s car, detectives allegedly found more than $20,000 in cash, as well as a handgun and a shotgun contained inside a concealed hydraulic compartment. In total, detectives seized more than 300 grams of heroin and more than $55,000 in cash in the investigation.

“When we take down a heroin mill such as the one dismantled in this case, we know we have struck deeper into the supply pipeline and have arrested large-scale suppliers,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Heroin is a scourge that is claiming far too many lives in New Jersey, and we will aggressively prosecute anyone who profits by selling this agent of death and misery into our communities.”

“Paterson is a major hub for heroin distribution, with many drug users and suppliers coming from across the northern suburbs of New Jersey to obtain heroin in the city,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’ll continue to work with the New Jersey State Police and other law enforcement partners to disrupt this deadly commerce.”

“All too often, these mills are not only responsible for manufacturing the poison that is heroin, but they are responsible for the violence that goes hand-in hand with drug trafficking,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We will continue to shut these mills down, arrest those responsible, and work with our partners to ensure successful prosecution.”

In connection with the guns seized from his car, Marino Pimental-Tejada also is charged with possession of a weapon in the course of committing a drug offense (2nd degree), unlawful possession of a handgun (2nd degree), and unlawful possession of a shotgun (3rd degree). In addition, he and each of the other defendants face third-degree heroin possession charges, and all except Grady face a charge of third-degree money laundering.

Deputy Attorney General Brandy Malfitano presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. Attorney General Porrino commended the detectives of the New Jersey State Police Trafficking North Bureau for their investigation.

The first-degree heroin charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, with a fine of up to $500,000 for the possession with intent charge, and up to $750,000 for the production facility charge. 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.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Passaic County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.

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