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Feds: Elizabeth Dealer Faces Lengthy Prison Stretch For Trafficking Fentanyl

Jhon Rodriguez-Acosta
Jhon Rodriguez-Acosta Photo Credit: MUGSHOT

An Elizabeth man admitted trafficking nearly a pound of fentanyl as part of a criminal enterprise that federal authorities said moved the deadly drug by the kilo.

Jhon Rodriguez-Acosta, 34, told a federal judge via teleconference that he and an accomplice went to a 7-Eleven parking lot in Elizabeth on Feb. 13, 2019 to collect payment for the fentanyl, which he’d sold to another co-conspirator.

Local authorities arrested Rodriguez-Acosta nearly a year earlier after they said they caught him dealing in Bergen County and elsewhere.

SEE: Bergen Detectives Seize 4½ Pounds Of Raw Heroin In Raid

A strike force in April 2018 executed search warrants at Rodriguez-Acosta's Elizabeth apartment and a hair studio that he lived above.

They seized 4½ pounds of raw heroin, as well as dozens of individual packages of heroin and fentanyl and a small amount of crack – all worth a combined $160,000 on the street, authorities said at the time.

Rodriguez-Acosta a took a plea deal from the government in exchange for leniency after federal authorities arrested him last year following a new investigation.

He faces a mandatory minimum federal prison sentence of 10 years each for guilty pleas to drug distribution and conspiracy at scheduled Sept. 28 sentencing  in Trenton, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

Rodriguez-Acosta would have to serve just about all of the sentence because there's no parole in the federal prison system.

Carpenito credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security’s Security Investigations unit with the investigation leading to the guilty plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francesca Liquori of his Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force/Narcotics Unit in Newark.

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