After a nine-month investigation into cocaine distribution activities in New Jersey, authorities arrested nine individuals on a host of drug charges, including intent to distribute cocaine and leading a narcotics trafficking network.
Operation Snowball was the moniker for the narcotics investigation, which spanned nine months and reached its apex on Thursday. Investigators identified 48-year-old Hugo Hernandez as the head of a cocaine distribution ring responsible for disseminating approximately 1/3 kilogram of cocaine per week.
Hernandez, a Freehold borough resident, was allegedly providing cocaine to lower-level drug dealers in the area. He has been charged with numerous offenses, including leader of a narcotics trafficking network. His brother, 35-year-old New Brunswick resident Carlos Hernandez-Campos, was also implicated in the drug operation. Carlos is accused of dealing cocaine and has been charged with cocaine possession and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. In addition to nine arrests, officials reportedly recovered 721 grams of cocaine and $14,943.
As one might expect, the alleged leader of the cocaine distribution ring is facing the harshest punishments. Nevertheless, distributing cocaine in significant quantities is also taken extremely seriously by New Jersey prosecutors. In a case involving intent to sell cocaine, the amount of the drug involved in the specific offense is used to determine the degree of the charges.
According to the New Jersey drug distribution statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, a violation involving 5 ounces of cocaine or more is a first degree crime. First degree crimes are the most serious under the NJ criminal code and may result in up to 20 years in prison. In addition, first degree cocaine distribution entails a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility as explained in the Brimage Guidelines.
Another nuance of New Jersey cocaine distribution law is the State’s ability to aggregate the amount of cocaine among individual acts, and one or more people. In other words, the prosecution can add the amount of cocaine involved in each act of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute to arrive at a larger amount that is then used to determine the degree of the charges. Essentially, the more cocaine, the more serious the crime, and the harsher the penalties.
Arrested for Cocaine in New Brunswick, New Jersey?
If you or someone close to you has been charged with cocaine distribution, intent to distribute, or possession in Middlesex County, NJ, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The laws on cocaine in New Jersey are strict and prosecutors are often unyielding in these cases. At William Proetta Criminal Law, our lawyers focus entirely on criminal defense and we have accumulated an extensive skill set as it relates to plea negotiation and trial defense. To find out more about your cocaine charges and our defense representation, contact us today at (732) 659-9600. Free consultations are always offered.
For additional information regarding this case, visit the following link: 9 arrested in ‘Operation Snowball’ cocaine bust, authorities say