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New Jersey Firefighter Charged with Drug Distribution

MAY 12 (BOSTON) – A New Jersey firefighter and a Puerto Rican man were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Worcester today in connection with selling heroin in Leominster, Mass.  Carlos Jimenez, 50, of Englishtown, NJ, and Ivan Cruz-Rivera, 47, of Dorado, PR, were charged in a complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin.  Jimenez was arrested in New Jersey on May 2, 2016 and was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Worcester today.  Cruz-Rivera was arrested in Puerto Rico on May 3, 2016 and ordered released on conditions during a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico. 

According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 4, 2013, agents were surveilling garages on Union Street in Leominster where they believed drugs were being sold.  Agents observed a Lexus with two men and New Jersey registration entering the property, and leaving 30 minutes later.  After the Lexus left, the individual at the garage allegedly sold heroin to a cooperating source, who was accompanied by an undercover agent, for $7,500. 

As alleged in court documents, a state trooper followed the Lexus and stopped the vehicle in Sturbridge, Mass. after the driver exceeded the speed limit.  The trooper observed that the driver and passenger were visibly nervous – avoiding eye contact and fidgeting.  The driver provided the trooper with a New Jersey license and firefighter badge which identified him as Carlos Jimenez, and the passenger provided a Puerto Rican license identifying him as Cruz-Rivera.  When questioned about the purpose of the trip to Massachusetts, Jimenez allegedly gave conflicting answers, and said that they had just come from Lawrence.  Jimenez denied having weapons or drugs in the car, but said he was “not sure” if there were large sums of cash.  When Cruz-Rivera was questioned about transporting large sums of cash in the car, he gave evasive answers before finally stating that there was $1,000 in the car.  After Jimenez consented to a vehicle search, the trooper found $44,000 in a black bag in the back seat of the Lexus. 

According to court documents, the cash was seized, but Jimenez and Cruz-Rivera were released to maintain the ongoing drug investigation.  Subsequently, a cooperating witness provided law enforcement with information regarding Jimenez and Cruz-Rivera’s drug trafficking activity.  In approximately 2012, the cooperating witness began purchasing cocaine and heroin from Cruz-Rivera.  On Oct. 4, 2013, Jimenez allegedly told the cooperator that he drove for the drug delivery because it was less likely that he would get in trouble if they were pulled over because he was a firefighter.

The charging statutes provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England; United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest F. Martineau; Leominster Acting Police Chief Michael Goldman; and Lunenburg Police Chief James P. Marino, made the announcement. 


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