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News Release
Special Agent Douglas S. Collier,
Public Information Officer
TEL: (973) 776-1143
CELL:(862) 849-9833
April 14, 2005

DEA Arrests Three and Executes Two Search Warrants in Essex and Union Counties

Special Agent in Charge Michael Pasterchick, Jr., of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the arrests of four defendants that were distributing heroin throughout Essex and Union Counties in New Jersey. Federal, county, and local law enforcement agents/officers joined together arresting 3 violent drug offenders and executing 2 federal search warrants following months of investigation.

On April 14, 2005, the DEA Task Force which is comprised of Special Agents and officers from DEA, Bayonne Police Department, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, East Orange Police Department, Elizabeth Police Department, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Jersey City Police Department, Kearny Police Department, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Newark Police Department, Orange Police Department, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, and Paterson Police Department effected three (3) federal arrests warrants and executed two (2) federal search warrants.

Arrested relative to this investigation:

Mendoza, Rene - A.K.A. Chino, 1829 South Wood Ave., Linden, NJ, DOB: 02-08-1970
Powell, Alton – A.K.A. Junior, 806 South 12th Street, Newark, NJ, DOB: 09-23-1973
Kelly, Ronald – A.K.A. Ron, 448 Harrison Street, Rahway, NJ, DOB: 08-12-1967

During early morning raids DEA agents and Task Force officers executed federal search warrants along with a consent search at the following locations:

1829 South Wood Ave., Linden, NJ
806 South 12th Street, Newark, NJ
688 Pennsylvania Ave., Elizabeth, NJ

As a result of the searches, almost one (1) kilogram heroin was seized, crack cocaine, a loaded semi-automatic pistol with the serial number removed, jewelry, and various drug records and paraphernalia. Additionally, three (3) luxury vehicles along with another vehicle that contained a hidden compartment (trap) designed to hide money and drugs were seized.

Rene Mendoza led the command and control structure of this heroin distribution group and would supply the heroin for distribution. Mendoza’s right hand man Alton Powell was responsible for the day to day heroin distribution and Ron Kelly assisted in preparing heroin for street distribution. This group was responsible for heroin distribution throughout Essex and Union Counties. Between the three defendants arrested they have twenty-eight (28) prior felony convictions.

SAC Pasterchick credited the cooperation of all the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation. SAC Pasterchick stated that “we will continue to dismantle drug trafficking organization at all levels that plague our cities with drugs and violence. I applaud the efforts of the officers and agents who worked tirelessly to make this case successful”…

The investigation is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey headed by Christopher J. Christie. Aidan O’Conner is the Assistant United States Attorney who will represent the Government.

The federal complaint charges the defendants with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin. If convicted each defendant faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1. million dollar fine.

Notwithstanding the criminal complaint, every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by federal law.
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