NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man today admitted that he conspired to possess fentanyl with the intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Miguel Polanco, 31, of Union City, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of a substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl.

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

In May 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted a package being shipped from Mexico City, Mexico, to Polanco at his apartment. Inspection of the package revealed that it contained a substance that tested positive for the presence of fentanyl.

Prior to receiving the package, Polanco received a video from a conspirator explaining how to properly remove the bags of fentanyl concealed inside the package to minimize the damage to its contents. Polanco also engaged in multiple conversations with conspirators where he learned of the quantity of fentanyl that would be sent to him as well as instruction on where to deliver the package after he received it. In exchange for receiving and transporting the package containing fentanyl, Polanco was to be paid.

The conspiracy charge carries a statutory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million, or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for June 28, 2023.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel in Newark and Deputy Special Agent in Charge Alejandro Amaro in Laredo, Texas; U.S. Custom and Border Protection – (Laredo) under the direction of Port Director Albert Flores in Laredo and Port Director Tenavel Thomas in Newark; postal inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Christopher A. Nielsen, Philadelphia Division; and the Elizabeth Police Department, under the direction of Chief Giacommo Sacca, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit in Newark.

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Defense counsel: Adam Axel Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark