8 people from Union City among 13 arrested in Multi-State Narcotics Organization

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Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced today that 13 individuals were arrested in connection with a multi-state, large-scale narcotics organization based out of Hudson County.

Following a three-month long investigation, on April 25, 2016, members of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force in conjunction with the New Jersey Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration along with various local, state and federal law enforcement agencies executed multiple search and arrest warrants in Hudson County, New Jersey; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Robinsonville, Mississippi; and Brandon, Florida, resulting in the dismantling of an alleged large-scale narcotics drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing large quantities of cocaine throughout Hudson County.

The investigation was initiated in January 2016, after information was received that Carlos Rios headed a local organization alleged to be acquiring kilogram-quantities of cocaine being shipped to the continental United States by Victor Noble-Canales, a suspected Puerto Rico-based supplier, via the United States Postal Service from Puerto Rico to various destinations in the New Jersey/New York area. Rios then allegedly utilized several associates, including Ricky Cedeno and Michael Carrasco of Union City, New Jersey, as well as Xavier Pena of the Bronx, New York in obtaining those packages upon their arrival in the Hudson County area. Also identified as part of the organization were Josephine Pacheco and Yemile Ortiz, who are believed to have participated in laundering illegal proceeds derived from the distribution of cocaine.

On April 21, 2016, members of the Caribbean Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Department of Homeland Security in San Juan, Puerto Rico arrested Noble-Canales at his residence in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A subsequent search of Noble- Canales’ residence led to the seizure of a 9mm handgun, a large sum of United States currency, as well as a large quantity of cocaine and marijuana.

During the course of the investigation, over seven kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of over one-quarter of a million dollars were seized by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and members of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the New Jersey Drug Enforcement Administration, which are connected to Rios, Noble-Canales and their organization. Over $180,000.00 in currency and bank accounts was also seized.

The following is a list of individuals arrested and their respective charges and bails:

  1. Carlos Rios, age 25, of Union City, New Jersey, was charged with Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network (first degree); Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $750,000.00 cash only.
  2. Johanny Olmedo, age 58, of Brooklyn, New York, was charged with Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network (first degree); Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $750,000.00 cash only.
  3. Ricky Cedeno, age 24, of Union City, New Jersey, was charged with Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $250,000.00 cash or bond.
  4. Victor Noble-Canales, age 54, of Calle Cruz, San Juan, Puerto Rico, was charged with Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network (first degree); Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); Financial Facilitation (second degree); and Conspiracy to Commit Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $1,000,000.00 cash only.
  5. Carlos Mendoza-Rivera, age 25, of Union City, New Jersey, was charged with Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $125,000.00 cash or bond.
  6. Josephine Pacheco, age 27, of Brandon, Florida, was charged with Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $250,000.00 cash or bond.
  1. Yemile Ortiz, age 24, of Union City, New Jersey, was charged with Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $250,000.00 cash or bond.
  2. Jesus Rosario, age 24, of Union City, New Jersey, was charged with Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 1⁄2 ounce but less than five ounces (second degree); Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $150,000.00 cash or bond.
  3. Xavier Pena, age 28, of Bronx, New York, was charged with Financial Facilitation (second degree); Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); and Conspiracy to distribute CDS in a quantity greater than 5 ounces (second degree). Bail was set at $250,000.00 cash or bond.
  4. Michael Carrasco, age 25 of Union City, New Jersey, was charged with Conspiracy to distribute cocaine in an aggregate quantity greater than five ounces (second degree). Bail was set at $150,000.00 cash or bond.
  5. Wilfredo Montanez, age 34, of Jersey City, New Jersey, was charged with Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 1⁄2 ounce, but less than 5 ounces (second degree); Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $125,000.00 cash or bond.
  6. Jose Lopez, age 28, of Union City, New Jersey, was charged with Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree). Bail was set at $150,000.00 cash or bond.
  7. Jake Rivera, age 28, of Union City, New Jersey, was charged with Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, greater than 5 ounces (second degree); Conspiracy to commit Financial Facilitation (second degree); and Financial Facilitation (second degree) Bail was set at $200,000.00.

If convicted, the charge of Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network (first degree) carries a maximum penalty of life in prison with 25 years of parole ineligibility. The other second degree charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison.

Prosecutor Suarez said, “This organization channeled substantial amounts of cocaine into our Hudson County community and relied on a sophisticated network spanning from Union City to Puerto Rico. The investigation delved beyond the mere street-corner dealer and focused on the commerce of suppliers and financiers in this illegal trade. This take-down was the culmination of a concerted and arduous effort of over one dozen law enforcement agencies. Getting these dealers off our streets is a step toward further protecting our residents and families. Even if our work needs to be done one drug dealer at a time, these arrests help take drugs and guns off our local streets.”

The Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force led the investigation. Prosecutor Suarez also credited the following agencies that assisted in the investigation:

Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division Drug Enforcement Administration – Caribbean Field Division Hudson County Sheriff’s Office
Union City, NJ Police Department
North Bergen, NJ Police Department
Harrison, NJ Police Department
Kearny, NJ Police Department
Secaucus, NJ Police Department
Hudson County Corrections
United States Postal Inspection Service – New Jersey Division Homeland Security Investigations – New Jersey
Homeland Security Investigations – San Juan
Tunica County, MS Sheriff’s Office
Hillsborough County, FL Sheriff’s Office

The above charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).

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