Task Force Arrest Three Who Sought to Rob
AUG 21 - U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced on August 18, 2003, the arrest of three individuals with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute approximately 200 Kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $5 million.
Each of the three defendants were arrested on Sunday morning August 17, 2003, about 7:30 a.m. in a warehouse on Railroad Avenue in Paterson as they attempted to take possession of as much as 200 kilograms of cocaine. In reality, the cocaine was not the real drug and was placed there by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Newark Division in an undercover operation.
The complaint alleges that the arrested subjects arrived at the warehouse in two stolen SUV's. Unbeknownst to them, the kilograms of cocaine were fake and inside and outside of the warehouse was wired with video cameras to capture their activities. The warehouse was surrounded by the Passaic County Sheriff's S.W.A.T. team, members of the Paterson Police Department and Special Agents of the DEA Newark Division.
Christie credited Special Agents of the DEA, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Alexander J. Gourley; Sheriff's Deputies with the Passaic County Sheriff's Department; under the direction of Sheriff Jerry Speziale; officers with the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Lawrence Spagnola; and the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, under the direction of Prosecutor James F. Avigliavo.