NEWARK, N.J. – A Mexican man today admitted his role in conspiring to traffic approximately 300 grams of fentanyl into New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Angel Santo Jerez Matos, 60, a/k/a “El Colonel,” pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Matos was a supplier of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine to a drug trafficking organization operating in and around New Jersey.

Matos and a member of a New Jersey drug trafficking organization were heard, on intercepted communications, discussing the pricing of “cars,” meaning kilograms of narcotics to be shipped from Mexico into the United States through California. The drugs would then be shipped to New Jersey. Additional communications among members of the New Jersey drug trafficking organization revealed that 300 grams of fentanyl that had originated with Matos in Mexico made its way to users in Newark in May 2017.

The conspiracy charge to which Matos pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $5 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2019.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari B. Fontecchio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

This case is being conducted under the auspices of the OCDETF. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.


Defense counsel: Robert Galuccio Esq., Paterson, New Jersey