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Middlesex Daily Voice serves Edison, New Brunswick, North / South / East Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Sayreville & Woodbridge

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NO PAROLE: Major Trenton Heroin Trafficker Headed To Fed Pen For Plea-Bargained 17 Years

Drug wars
Drug wars Photo Credit: Pixabay

A major trafficker who supplied enough heroin to “flood the streets” of Trenton was sentenced to a plea-bargained 17 years in federal prison – all of which he must serve.

David Antonio, 32, who was caught with more than three pounds of heroin, admitted being part of a violent, massive distribution network taken down by huge collection of local, county, state and federal law enforcement, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

Antonio – also known as “Pop” and “Papi” -- became the 23rd of 26 defendants to take a plea deal in exchange for leniency at sentencing.

He and the others must all serve out their sentences completely because there’s no parole in the federal prison system.

A joint effort of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies led to charges against Antonio and members of two rival gangs, all of whom are accused of distributing heroin by the pound in the city and were dubbed "war ready" by federal authorities. Several also were charged with weapons offenses.

The gangs operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, Chambers Street, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, Carpenito said.

Investigators tapping calls and texts, making undercover buys and using informants, among other techniques, learned that conspirators Jakir Taylor and Jerome Roberts “obtained regular supplies of hundreds of bricks of heroin from Antonio,” Carpenito said.

Antonio agreed to supply a “motherlode” of as many as 1,400 bricks of heroin in a single delivery – roughly a kilo and a half of the drug, he said.

Taylor told Antonio that he intended to “flood the streets” of Trenton with the batch, the U.S. attorney said. Antonio, in turn, agreed to supply enough smack for him to do so, he said.

Antonio was captured at his home in a series of quick strike arrests in October 2018. Investigators found 1.4 kilos of heroin and a “significant” amount of materials used to package it for sale, Carpenito said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson sentenced him via teleconference in Trenton to 204 months in prison in exchange for his guilty plea to conspiring to distribute heroin. She also sentenced Antonio to five years of supervised release.

Carpenito cited several agencies who he said played major roles in the investigation and/or takedown:

  • the FBI Newark Division’s Trenton Resident Agency;
  • the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ Newark Division’s Trenton Field Office;
  • Trenton, Princeton, Ewing and Burlington Township police;
  • the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

The U.S. attorney also thanked New Jersey State Police, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and the New Jersey State Parole Board.

Securing the pleas were Attorney-in-Charge J. Brendan Day and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the Carpenito’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, the U.S. attorney said.

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