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News Release
June 30, 2004

DEA New Jersey and Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Seize 13 Pounds of Cocaine and Arrest Ten (10) Individuals

JUN 30, 2005--Special Agent in Charge Michael Pasterchick, Jr., of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Hudson County Prosecutor Edward J. De Fazio announced today the arrests of 10 defendants and the seizure of approximately 13 pounds of cocaine.

The following individuals were arrested:


Arsenio Arzola DOB: 03-21-1971
Misael Arzola   DOB: 07-20-1979
Benjamin Arzola  DOB: 04-16-1967
Israel Arzola  DOB: 06-14-1963
Domingo Hernandez DOB: 01-08-1971
Melissa Jordan  DOB: 03-12-1979
Maximino Nieves  DOB: 06-10-1973
Nelson Reyes  DOB: 05-07-1975
Ruben Soto  DOB: 11-10-1976
Rafael Reyes DOB: 12-06-1972

DEA Special Agents from the New Jersey Division, in conjunction with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, executed nine search warrants at various locations in Jersey City, Ledgewood, and Newark. The search warrants, and nine arrest warrants, were the result of several months of investigative cooperation between DEA and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in relation to the cocaine trafficking organization overseen by brothers Benjamin, Arsenio and Ismael Arzola. The investigation revealed that the organization was distributing at least 80 pounds of cocaine on a monthly basis, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit.

During the execution of one of the search warrants in Jersey City, Arsenio Arzola fired two rounds from an AMT Backup .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol. The shots did not strike any of the officers/agents involved in serving the search warrants. The officers/agents did not return fire. Arsenio Arzola was charged federally with Title 18 USC Section 924, Assault on a Federal Agent and Use of a Weapon in Commission of the Assault.


During the execution of another search warrant in Jersey City, another network leader identified as Benjamin Arzola, brandished a handgun and was quickly subdued and arrested by detectives.


Agents seized the AMT Backup .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol along with five other handguns during the raids. Also seized during the operation were approximately $100,000 U.S. currency and eight high priced luxury automobiles with an estimated value of about $170,000. Agents also identified numerous bank accounts, containing an aggregate of about $90,000, which were frozen for seizure at a later date.


Special Agent in Charge Pasterchick recognized the efforts of the Special Agents and Investigators working on this investigation by saying, “the arrests and seizures made during this multi-jurisdictional investigation are a direct result of law enforcement agencies working well together at all levels to stop the flow of drugs into the country and onto our city streets.” He added, “the removal of this organization, with its propensity towards violence, can only have long-lasting effects on the community.”


Prosecutor De Fazio stated, “In this cooperative effort, law enforcement agencies infiltrated, identified and dismantled three high-level distribution networks, which were working together to supply a major metropolitan area with cocaine.”


Arsenio Arzola is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey headed by U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie. John Gay is the Assistant United States Attorney who will represent the Government. The other remaining defendants are being prosecuted by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office headed by Prosecutor Edward J. De Fazio.


Notwithstanding the criminal complaints, 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 the U.S. Constitution and federal and state law.


The complaint charges the defendants with possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy.
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