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Prosecutor’s Office: Eight charged with drug and weapons offenses

Investigators allege a drug trafficking network.

Officers seized 80 pounds of marijuana, prescription medication, cocaine, $75,000 cash, three guns, and more than 100 grams of pure gold.

According to a statement from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force arrested eight people under assorted narcotics and weapons charges. The arrests were a result of an investigation carried out in conjunction with the Newark office of Homeland Security Investigations.

According to the allegations, North Bergen residents Nick Mendoza, age 33, Jessica Polo, age 30, Jennifer Guzman, age 29, Christopher Dopico, age 31, and William Zamot, age 49, were arrested without incident on Dec 10.

The report alleges that Clifton residents Jason Marrero, age 48, Dubuel Parra, age 23, Ronald Vargas-Banegas, age 50, were also arrested as a result of the investigation on Dec. 10.

During the investigation, detectives determined that Nick Mendoza and Jason Marrero were the alleged organizational leaders of a narcotics trafficking network operating in Hudson and Passaic counties that allegedly distributed large quantities of marijuana, quantities of cocaine, and other controlled dangerous substances.

The prosecutor’s office stated that officers seized more than 80 pounds of high-grade marijuana, a large quantity of prescription medication, a small amount of cocaine, more than $75,000, two rifles, one stun gun, one flintlock pistol, three vehicles, and more than 100 grams of pure gold. The street value of the marijuana that was seized is approximately $200,000, the prosecutor’s office reports.

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez credited the Newark Office of Homeland Security Investigations, the Clifton Police Department, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, and the New Jersey Division of Taxation’s criminal investigation office for assisting in the searches and arrests.

The prosecutor’s office reports that, if convicted of the first-degree crime of leading a narcotics trafficking network, Mendoza and Marrero face life imprisonment with 25 years of parole ineligibility. Mendoza and Marrero allegedly supplied marijuana and other drugs to mid to lower level dealers who were allegedly involved in the distribution of controlled dangerous substances.

Alleged Charges

Nick Mendoza has received eight charges. The allegations include leading  a narcotics trafficking network, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy  to distribute marijuana, money Laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, possession with intent to distribute marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of a prohibited device, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Jason Marrero received 13 charges. The allegations involve two counts of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, two charges of possession with the intent to distribute prescription legend drugs, unlawful possession of a weapon while committing a drug offense, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana within 500 feet of public housing.

Jessica Polo has received five charges involving allegedly intending to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school.

Jennifer Guzman received charges involving alleged possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana within 500 feet of public property.

Dubuel Parra received seven charges involving alleged conspiracy to distribute marijuana, unlawful possession of a weapon while committing a drug offense, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession with the intent to distribute prescription legend drugs, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana on school property, and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana within 500 feet of public housing.

Ronald Vargas-Banegas received eight charges involving alleged conspiracy to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, unlawful possession of a weapon while committing a drug offense, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession with the intent to distribute prescription legend drugs, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana on school property, and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana within 500 feet of public housing.

Christopher Dopico received charges for alleged possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana within 500 feet of public property.

William Zamot was charged with alleged conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

The above charges are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

 

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