NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man was convicted today for his role in trafficking heroin and fentanyl into a New Jersey state prison, resulting in the overdose of one of the inmates, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Noel Salgado, aka “Kuko,” 41, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, which resulted in serious bodily injury, following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court. The jury did not reach a unanimous verdict against co-defendant Rodgerick Garrett.
According to the documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
While incarcerated at Bayside State Prison, Salgado directed associates to provide narcotics proceeds to him and his associates and to smuggle narcotics into prison to distribute to other inmates.
On Oct. 17, 2015, Salgado called an associate from prison to arrange for the purchase and smuggling into the prison of heroin and fentanyl. Another conspirator picked up the narcotics and smuggled them to Salgado on Oct. 18, 2015. The following day, an inmate to whom Salgado had distributed the narcotics was found unresponsive in his cell suffering from a drug overdose. The inmate stopped breathing on his own and remained unconscious for approximately 20 minutes before medical personnel administered Narcan to revive him. The inmate was hospitalized for two days.
The charge of distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, resulting in serious bodily injury, on which the defendant was convicted carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a maximum $1 million fine. The conspiracy charge on which he was convicted carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited Special Agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and investigators with the N.J. Department of Corrections under the direction of Acting Commissioner Victoria L. Kuhn, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher D. Amore and Elaine K. Lou of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.