Eight People Arrested in Drug Trafficking Network in Hudson and Passaic

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Following a five-month investigation, members of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force along with the Newark Office of Homeland Security Investigations arrested eight individuals, charging them with various narcotics and weapons offenses.

Nick Mendoza, age 33, of North Bergen, Jessica Polo, age 30, of North Bergen, Jennifer Guzman, age 29, of North Bergen, Christopher Dopico, age 31, of North Bergen, William Zamot, age 49, of North Bergen, Jason Marrero, age 48, of Clifton, Dubuel Parra, age 23, of Clifton, Ronald Vargas- Banegas, age 50, of Clifton were all arrested without incident on December 10, 2018.

During the investigation, detectives determined that Nick Mendoza and Jason Marrero were the alleged organizational leaders of a narcotics trafficking network operating in Hudson and Passaic counties that distributed large quantities of marijuana as well as quantities of cocaine and other Controlled Dangerous Substances. Mendoza and Marrero allegedly supplied marijuana and other drugs to mid to lower level dealers who were involved in the distribution of CDS.

The following is a list of the individuals who were arrested, as well as their charges:

  1. 1.)  Nick Mendoza has been charged with Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-3; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5; Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5; Money Laundering in violation of 2C:21-25; Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering in violation of 2C:5-2 and 2C:21-25; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7; Possession of a Prohibited Device 2C:39-3; and Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in Violation of 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5.
  2. 2.)  Jason Marrero has been charged with Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-3; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5; Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5; Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:21-25; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 1,000 foot of a school in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7; two counts of Possession with the Intent to Distribute Prescription Legend Drugs in violation of 2C:35-10. Unlawful Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Drug Offense in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-4; Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-5; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Prescription Legend Drugs in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana on School Property in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7; and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 500 feet of Public Housing in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7.1.
  3. 3.)  Jessica Polo has been charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5; Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5; Money Laundering in violation of N.J.S. 2C:21-25; Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering in violation of 2C:5-2 and 2C:21-25; and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 1,000 feet of a School in violation of N.J.S.2C:35-7.
  4. 4.)  Jennifer Guzman has been charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5; Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5; and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 500 feet of Public Property in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7.1.
  5. 5.)  Dubuel Parra has been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5. Unlawful Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Drug Offense in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-4; Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-5; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Prescription Legend Drugs in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5; Possession with the Intent to Distribute marijuana on School Property in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7; and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 500 feet of Public Housing in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7.1.
  6. 6.)  Ronald Vargas-Banegas has been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5; Conspiracy to Commit Money laundering in Violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:21-25; and Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5. Unlawful Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Drug Offense in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-4; Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S. 2C:39-5; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Prescription Legend Drugs in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana on School Property in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7; and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 500 feet of Public Housing in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7.1.
  1. 7.)  Christopher Dopico has been charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-5; Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5; and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana within 500 feet of Public Property in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-7.1.

8.)  William Zamot has been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in violation of N.J.S. 2C:5-2 and 2C:35-5.

In addition to the arrests, officers seized more than 80 pounds of high-grade marijuana, a large quantity of prescription medication, a small amount of cocaine, more than $75,000 in United States currency, two rifles, one stun gun, one flintlock pistol, three vehicles and more than 100 grams of pure gold. The street value of the marijuana that was seized is approximately $200,000.

If convicted of the first-degree crime of being a leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network, Mendoza and Marrero face life imprisonment with 25 years of parole ineligibility.

In addition to the NTF Officers, Prosecutor Suarez credited the Newark Office of Homeland Security Investigations, the Clifton Police Department, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, and the New Jersey Division of Taxation – Office of Criminal Investigation for assisting in the searches and 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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