NEWARK, N.J. – Authorities seized 20 kilograms (more than 40 pounds) of fentanyl at a Bloomsbury truck stop on March 1 and arrested two men.

Luis Aponte, 48, of Hesperia, Cal., and Denny Diaz, 29, of Philadelphia, were charged with one count conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito. They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Dickson in Newark federal court yesterday.

The men are being held without bail.

Sign Up for Flemington/Raritan Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Aponte drove a tractor trailer from California to the Bloomsbury rest stop, where he stayed overnight between March 1 and the next day. Then, he and Diaz met in a white Jeep and, once inside, Aponte gave Diaz approximately seven kilograms of fentanyl. Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested the pair and searched Aponte’s truck. They found an additional 13 kilograms of fentanyl and five kilograms of heroin inside.

Field tests confirmed the presence of the drugs. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.

The case is being investigated by the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprising agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department and New York State Police.

Carpenito credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, New York Division; New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill; and N.Y. State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett with the investigation leading to the arrests.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Macurdy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.