A state drug sting in Newark and Irvington resulted in the arrests of four people charged with spreading tens of thousands of deadly doses of heroin and fentanyl.

The drugs were stamped with brand names like "Dunkin Donuts," which was linked to 15 deaths, and "Donald Trump, which was linked to six deaths.

In all, the confiscated brands were linked to 93 overdoses that led to 33 deaths between January 2015 and last month, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday.

Investigators said they seized 70,000 individual doses and four kilograms of suspected fentanyl and heroin that could produce an estimated 30,000 more doses. The seized drugs had a street value of more than $500,000.

Officials said George Encarnacion, 28, of Newark, ran the opioid mill from the second-floor apartment of 214 Eastern Parkway in Irvington.

Jonathan Perez-Payano was charged in connection to a heroin mill takedown in Irvington in July 2019. (NJ Attorney General's Office)
Nelfy Ulerio was charged in connection to a heroin mill takedown in Irvington in July 2019. (NJ Attorney General's Office)
Steffany Castillo-Candalari was charged in connection to a heroin mill takedown in Irvington in July 2019. (NJ Attorney General's Office)

At his apartment in Newark, police said they found $137,000 in cash, 5 grams of heroin and paraphernalia.
Prosecutors accuse him of working with Jonathan Perez-Payano, 28, of Newark, and Nelfy Ulerio, 19, of Irvington, all of whom face first-degree drug-production charges. They also charged Steffany Castillo-Candalari, 28, of Newark, with second-degree conspiracy to distribute narcotics.

At the apartment of Perez-Payano and Castillo-Candalari, police said they found $28,526 in cash, a money counter and a stolen handgun.

“This is another victory for our Opioid Enforcement Task Force and another case where we undoubtedly saved lives by stopping countless doses of fentanyl and heroin from reaching drug users,” Grewal said.

Grewal said people who find drugs with the brand stamps listed above should contact authorities. Many police departments and prosecutors allow drugs and paraphernalia to be surrendered with no questions asked.

List of charges

George Encarnacion
- 1st-degree maintaining a narcotics production facility
- 1st-degree possession of heroin with the intent to distribute
- 2nd-degree conspiracy
- 2nd-degree possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute
- 2nd-degree possession of firearm while committing a drug offense
- 2nd-degree money laundering
- 3rd-degree possession of heroin
- 3rd-degree possession of fentanyl
- 3rd-degree possession within 1000 feet of Grove Street School
- 4th-degree possession of large capacity magazine
- 4th-degree possession of drug paraphernalia

Jonathan Perez-Payano
- 1st-degree maintaining a narcotics production facility
- 1st-degree possession of heroin with the intent to distribute
- 2nd-degree conspiracy
- 2nd-degree possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute
- 2nd-degree possession of firearm while committing a drug offense
- 3rd-degree possession of heroin
- 3rd-degree possession of fentanyl
- 3rd-degree possession within 1000 feet of Grove Street School
- 3rd-degree Receiving Stolen Property (Firearm)
- 3rd-degree money laundering
- 4th-degree possession of large capacity magazine
- 4th-degree possession of drug paraphernalia

Nelfy Ulerio
- 1st-degree maintaining a narcotics production facility
- 1st-degree possession of heroin with the intent to distribute
- 2nd-degree conspiracy
- 2nd-degree possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute
- 2nd-degree possession of firearm while committing a drug offense
- 3rd-degree possession of heroin
- 3rd-degree possession of fentanyl
- 3rd-degree possession within 1000 feet of Grove Street School
- 4th-degree possession of large capacity magazine
- 4th-degree possession of drug paraphernalia

Steffany Castillo-Candalari
- 2nd-degree conspiracy
- 3rd-degree receiving stolen property (firearm)
- 3rd-degree money laundering

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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