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California man sentenced to 30 months in prison for role in heroin distribution scheme

(NEWARK, N.J.) – Valerie A. Nickerson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, and Craig Carpenito, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey announced a California man who swallowed plastic bags containing approximately 600 grams of heroin and later admitted that he possessed the drug with intent to distribute it, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison.

Omar Vasques, 24, of Bakersfield, California, previously pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
On Sept. 15, 2016, Vasques landed at Newark Liberty International Airport on a commercial flight after having swallowed 81 “pellets” of heroin wrapped in plastic baggies. He intended to distribute the heroin after his arrival but was apprehended by law enforcement authorities, who escorted Vasques to a hospital. Vasques underwent emergency surgery after hospital staff discovered that one of the baggies had ruptured.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Vasques to three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Valerie Nickerson, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Timothy Gallagher for the investigation that led to today’s sentencing.


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