Three men accused of bringing more than $1 million worth of drugs into Atlantic City were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday.
Edwin Gomez, Steven Torres and Steven Rodriguez were arrested after an investigation by the Atlantic City Task Force last summer found they were bringing about 3½ kilograms of heroin into the city.
Torres, 25, and Gomez, 32, both from Brooklyn, were arrested when they arrived at a parking lot on Saint James Place at about 1 p.m. June 15.
Inside their van was the heroin wrapped in plastic bags, according to the charges.
Rodriguez, 23, of Queens, N.Y., was arrested in a sport utility van nearby. He allegedly drove to the area with Gomez, and helped in the delivery.
The approximately $300,000 worth of drugs could have sold on the street for more than $1 million, once packaged, according to authorities.
“The heroin seized in this case could have been cut and packaged to yield 60,000 doses – enough doses for every person living in Atlantic City and neighboring Pleasantville,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The Atlantic City Task Force has been highly effective in leveraging law enforcement resources, in cooperation with its federal partners, to reduce drug dealing and gun violence in and around Atlantic City.”
This is part of “a multi-faceted assault on the opioid epidemic” undertaken by the Office of New Jersey Coordinator of Addiction Response and Enforcement Strategies, explained Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
“Heroin deaths have more than doubled over the past five years as the opioid epidemic has tightened its grip on New Jersey, and alleged suppliers like these defendants who bring large quantities of heroin into our state are fueling this deadly crisis,” Grewal said.
“If this massive seizure prevented just one death or overdose or prevented just one person from falling victim to addiction, then it was a success,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, acting superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
“This case demonstrates that those involved in narcotics distribution will be pursued to the full extent of the law,” said Brian Michael, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Newark. “This interagency effort brought down an organization that would have brought large amounts of heroin into our state, one which is already ravaged by the opioid epidemic.”
The first-degree charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $500,000. The second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of as much as $150,000, while the third-degree charge carries a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $75,000.