Accused Cocaine Smugglers Indicted
NEW JERSEY 101.5
Three accused drug smugglers have been indicted on a host of charges, after New Jersey State Police troopers seized 21 kilograms of cocaine from a Winnebago they were driving last winter.
Jorge Avalos of Edinburg, Texas, Luis Hernandez of Hidalgo, Texas, and Francis Bailey of Moultrie, Georgia are charged with first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, second-degree conspiracy, third-degree possession of cocaine, and third-degree money laundering.
“By intercepting this shipment, state troopers kept more than $600,000 worth of cocaine off the street and out of the hands of the drug dealers and gang members who wreak havoc in our communities,” said acting New Jersey Attorney General Hoffman. “Given the steady correlation between drug dealing and violent crime, this level of interdiction has a real impact on public safety.”
Elie Honig, the Director of the State Division of Criminal Justice said “this was an outstanding bust, which not only took 21 kilos of cocaine off the market, but also put three men in jail who otherwise might still be running drugs from Texas to New Jersey. We will utilize the abundance of evidence seized by the State Police to ensure that these drug traffickers remain behind bars.”
Avalos and Hernandez were arrested on Feb. 16, 2013, when the Winnebago 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.
The first-degree charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $500,000, while the second-degree charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison, with a fine of up to $35,000 for the drug charge and a fine of up to $500,000 for the money laundering charge.