The following two men were sentenced today by Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez in Hudson County:
Jorge Avalos, 45, of Edinburg, Texas, was sentenced to 10 years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility. He pleaded guilty on April 27 to first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
A third defendant, Francis Bailey, 63, of Moultrie, Georgia, is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 15. He pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and faces a recommended five-year prison sentence.
Deputy Attorney General Ray Mateo prosecuted the defendants and took the guilty pleas for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. Deputy Attorney General Amy L. Sieminski handled the sentencing hearing today.
“The 21 kilos of cocaine that were seized by state troopers in this investigation were worth well over a half million dollars on the street and represented just a single shipment for these major drug traffickers,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “By putting these men in prison for lengthy terms, we undoubtedly have kept millions of dollars in narcotics out of New Jersey, out of the hands of violent drug dealers, and out of the troubled lives of drug addicts.”
“Whenever we interdict a large drug shipment like this one, we take those drugs off the streets, and, in turn, we suppress drug activity and all of the violent crime that goes with it,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Working with the New Jersey State Police, we will continue to strike at these major drug suppliers whenever we can.”
“There is no doubt that seizures this large, with a street value of over a half million dollars, keep those drugs out of our communities and cause traffickers to lose key members and suffer massive monetary losses,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Today’s sentencing is the result of the outstanding work of our detectives and all involved with the prosecution of this case.”
Avalos and Hernandez were arrested on Feb. 16, 2013, when the Winnebago RV in which they were traveling was stopped by the New Jersey State Police on Marin Boulevard in Jersey City. Members of the State Police Drug Trafficking North Unit had been conducting surveillance of the Winnebago as part of a drug trafficking investigation. The two men consented to a search of the RV, during which the State Police seized 21 individually wrapped kilogram packages of cocaine and $23,000 in U.S. currency. Bailey was arrested later at a motel room in Secaucus, where troopers seized $16,710 in cash. Bailey allegedly had driven the Winnebago with the cocaine to a motel in North Bergen, where Avalos and Hernandez picked it up from him two days earlier.
Deputy Attorney General Annmarie Taggart, Deputy Chief of the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, presented the case to the state grand jury. The investigation was conducted by members of the New Jersey State Police Drug Trafficking North Unit.