Two Kearny residents among five arrested on Prescription Drug Operation

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Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez released the following information:
Following a two-month investigation, members of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force arrested five individuals for the distribution of prescription drugs in western Hudson County. The investigation included Task Force Officers conducting undercover purchases in a drug buy/bust sting operation, mainly in Kearny, but also in Newark and Hackensack.

On August 1, 2016, officers arrested Rafael Rivera, age 25, of Kearny; Diana Pinto, age 26, of East Newark; Robert Cestari, age 21, of Kearny; and, Stephanie Perez, age 27, of Belleville, on various charges involving the distribution of the prescription drugs Xanax and oxycodone.

Rivera and Pinto were arrested after officers made several undercover purchases in Kearny involving over two-dozen doses of Xanax. Cestari and Perez were arrested for their involvement in previous undercover purchases. Search warrants were executed and the arrests resulted in the seizure of two vehicles, more than 200 Xanax doses, 10 oxycodone doses and currency.

On August 2, 2016, officers arrested Eric Berg, age 36, of Hazlet, New Jersey, at his residence pursuant to a summons for his conspiratorial role in the Hackensack undercover operation. A subsequent search of his residence resulted in the seizure of more than 200 doses of Xanax, approximately eight ounces of marijuana and $1000. Officers also seized his vehicle.

Bail for Berg was set at $50,000 cash or bond, and he was charged with the following:

Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Marijuana) in a quantity greater than one ounce, but less than five pounds in violation of N.J.S.A 2C:35- 5A(1) and N.J.S. 2C:5-5B (11).

Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Marijuana) in a quantity greater than one ounce but less than five pounds, while within 500 feet of a public library in violation of N.J.S. 2C:25-7.1.

Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Marijuana) in a quantity greater than one ounce but less than five pounds, while within 1000 feet of a public school in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7A.

Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), a schedule IV substance, in a quantity of more than 200 doses, in violation of N.J.S. 2C: 35-10.5A (4).

Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), a schedule IV substance, in a quantity of more than 200 doses, while within 500 feet of a public library, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7.1A.

Conspiracy to distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), in a quantity of 99 or less doses to an undercover police officer, while in the official performance of his duties in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (3) and N.J.S. 2C:5-2.
Bail for Cestari was set at $50,000 cash or bond, and he was charged with the following:

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (3).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5A (1) and N.J.S. 2C:35-5B (13).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), to an undercover police officer while within 1000 feet of a public school in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7A, two counts.

Conspiracy to distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), in a quantity of 99 or less doses to an undercover police officer, while in the official performance of his duties in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (3) contrary to the provisions of N.J.S. 2C:5-2A (1).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), in a quantity of 100 pills, to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (4).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), in a quantity of 100 pills, to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5A (1) and N.J.S. 2C: 35-5B (13).

Conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (Xanax), in a quantity of 100 pills to an undercover police officer, while in the official performance of his duties in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (4) contrary to the provisions of N.J.S. 2C:5-2A (1).


Perez was released on a summons and she was charged with the following:

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (3).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5A (1) and N.J.S. 35-5B (13).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance to an undercover police officer within 1000 feet of a public school in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7A.

Conspiracy to distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), in a quantity of 99 or less doses to an undercover police officer, while in the official performance of his duties in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (3) contrary to the provisions of N.J.S. 2C:5-2A (1).
Bail for Pinto was set at $50,000 cash or bond, and she was charged with the following:

Distribution of a prescription legend drug or stramonium in an amount of at least five but fewer than 100 dosage units not lawfully prescribed or administered by law to prescribe or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist, or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication, to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (3), three counts.

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), a schedule IV substance, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5A (1) and N.J.S. 2C:35-5B (13), two counts.

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), to an undercover police officer while within 1000 feet of a public school in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7A.

Conspiracy to distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), a schedule IV
substance, contrary to N.J.S. 2C:5-2a (1) and N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5a (3).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax) to an undercover police
officer, while within 1000 feet of a public school in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7A.

Conspiracy to distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), in a quantity of 100 pills to an undercover police officer, while in the official performance of his duties in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (4) and N.J.S. 2C:5-2A (1).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), a schedule IV substance to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5A (1) and N.J.S. 2C:35-5B (13).

Distribution of a prescription legend drug or stramonium in an amount of 100 or more dosage units not lawfully prescribed or administered by law to prescribe or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist, or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication, to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (4).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (oxycodone), a schedule II substance in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5A (1) and N.J.S. 2C:35-5b (2).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (oxycodone), to an undercover police officer while within 1000 feet of a public school in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7A.

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (oxycodone), a schedule II substance to an undercover police officer while within 1000 feet of a public school in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7A.


Bail for Rivera was set at $75,000 cash or bond, and he was charged with the following:

Distribution of a prescription legend drug or stramonium in an amount of 100 or more dosage units not lawfully prescribed or administered by law to prescribe or administered by a licensed physician, veterinarian, dentist, or other practitioner authorized by law to prescribe medication, to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (4).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), to an undercover police officer in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (3).

Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), to an undercover police officer while within 1000 feet of a public school in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7A.

Conspiracy to distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Xanax), in a quantity of 99 or less doses to an undercover police officer, while in the official performance of his duties in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10.5A (3) and N.J.S. 2C:5-2A (1).

Prosecutor Suarez credited the Kearny Police Department, the Hazlet Police Department, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office for assisting in the arrests.

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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