PATERSON, N.J. - The discovery by police of a "heroin mill" in Paterson resulted in the indictment of six people, including five from the city, on several first-degree crimes that carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison, authorities said today.
State Attorney General Christopher Porrino, in announcing the indictments, said the charges are the result of a State Police investigation. He said the indicted individuals are accused of operating a heroin distribution facility from which they planned to distribute large amounts of the drug.
The grand jury charging the following defendants with second-degree conspiracy, first-degree maintaining a heroin production facility, first-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute and other related offenses:
- Marino Pimentel-Tejada, 35, of Paterson,
- Antoipis Pimentel-Tejada, 30, of Paterson,
- Isamar Batista, 26, of West New York,
- Yinsys Pimentel-Tejada, 27, of Paterson,
- Manuel Garcia-Tejada, 30, of Paterson and
- Nuris Dominguez-Lara, 34, of Paterson.
Porrino said another Paterson man, Robert Grady, 40, was charged with second-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamine.
The attorney general said Marino Pimentel-Tejada and Grady were arrested on June 1 following a probe by the 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."
Porrino said Marino Pimentel-Tejada and Grady were found with 135 bricks of heroin when detectives arrested them inside a vehicle driven by Grady on 28th Street in Paterson. He explained that a brick of heroin consists of about 50 single-dose glassines in a bundle. Police also found several methamphetamine on Grady, Porrino said.
Police then executed search warrants for Marino Pimentel-Tejada’s residence in the 1100 block of East 24th Street in Paterson as well as his vehicle, said the attorney general. He said the other five defendants were in Marino’s residence when State Police executed the warrant.
Inside, detectives "discovered a heroin milling operation, including a table overflowing with glassines containing heroin, as well as numerous boxes containing empty glassines," Porrino said. "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."
Marino’s car was found to contain more than $20,000 in cash, a handgun and a shotgun inside a concealed hydraulic compartment, according to Porrino. He said detectives seized more than 300 grams of heroin and more than $55,000 in cash in the bust.
“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 Porrino in his statement. “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.”
Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig said 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.” He vowed that the division will “continue to work with the New Jersey State Police and other law enforcement partners to disrupt this deadly commerce.”
State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes pointed out that heroin in cities is commonly at the root of violence. “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,” he said. “We will continue to shut these mills down, arrest those responsible, and work with our partners to ensure successful prosecution.”
Porrino said Marino Pimental-Tejada was also charged with second-degree possession of a weapon in the course of committing a drug offense, second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun and third-degree unlawful possession of a shotgun. "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," said the attorney general.
He said Deputy Attorney General Brandy Malfitano presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. Porrino praised the detectives of the New Jersey State Police Trafficking North Bureau for their investigation.
He said the first-degree heroin charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in 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, Porrino added.
The indictment was handed up to state Superior Court Judge Peter Warshaw in Mercer County. He assigned the case to Passaic County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment, said Porrino.