Local and federal authorities seized more than 30 pounds of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine – the area’s largest narcotics haul in history -- while raiding a basement drug mill just outside Atlantic City, authorities said.
A federal judge in Camden ordered via videoconference that Ricardo Clavijo, 39, who lives in the Egg Harbor Township home, and Christopher Gonzalez, 37, of Pleasantville, remain held without bail, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
Each is charged with conspiring to have and sell more than a kilo of heroin.
“By all accounts, this case represents the largest single seizure of drugs in the history of Atlantic County,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.
A task force of DEA agents, detectives from Tyner’s office and other law enforcement officers hit the Standish Road home just off Route 40 near the Atlantic City Expressway, on Monday.
Task force members had been watching the Clavijo and Gonzalez since January, a DEA complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Camden says.
They’d collected surveillance video, phone and bank records and other information that the complaint says showed the pair dealing heroin.
As agents watched, Gonzalez drove a rented box truck from a rental facility to the Egg Harbor home, where others helped him unload packages through the garage door, the complaint says.
Gonzalez then drove to a municipal dump where he unloaded trash bags and other items from the truck, it says.
- two dozen empty packages and vacuum-sealed bags that tests showed held heroin, fentanyl and cocaine;
- used cellphones, “some their retail boxes with phone numbers written on the boxes”:
- boxes full of wax folds stamped with names that included “BLLEBENZ,” “FRIED CHICKEN” and “HARLEM NIGHTS.”
Then came this week’s raid.
In the basement, the complaint says, agents found:
- eight one-kilo packages of fentanyl;
- five one-kilo packages of fentanyl mixed with cocaine;
- two one-kilo packages of heroin;
- 600 individually-stamped heroin folds in cardboard boxes in a suitcase, “either wrapped in magazine paper or rubber banded into bundles.”
At least one of the packages was marked "TREBOL," like the one found at the dump, the DEP complaint says.
Also seized was a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P Shield handgun and a loaded magazine that fits the weapon -- both “hidden in a black plastic bag near the bottom of the stairs” – as well as a a 9mm 50-round drum magazine, according to the complaint.
They also found a plastic tub of heroin on a digital scale, mirrors with drug residue, unused vacuum-sealing bags, thousands of empty wax folds, ink pads, stamps, grinders, a kilo press and an electronic money counter, it says.
Honig credited special agents of the DEA’s Newark Division and the DEA Atlantic County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force with the investigation leading to the charges.
She also thanked the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Egg Harbor Township Police Department.
Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Johns of Honig’s Criminal Division in Camden.
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