A Paterson ex-con is headed to federal prison for 25 years for distributing heroin by the pound in Bergen, Passaic and Rockland counties.
Reinaldo “Memo” Rodriguez, 30, was part of a network that that stretched from the Bronx to Paterson and into suburban towns in all three counties, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
One ring member, Edwin Lopez of Elmwood Park, was sentenced to 13½ years in federal prison in July 2017 as part of a plea. Another, Carolina Almonte of the Bronx, also negotiated a deal and got four months in May 2017.
Rodriguez opted instead for a trial, which lasted four days in U.S. District Court in Newark in April and ended with him convicted of conspiracy to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and possession with the intent to distribute heroin.
As a result, his sentence was much more severe than if he'd taken a plea.
Because there is no parole in the federal prison system, Rodriguez, like the others, also must serve just about all of the sentence.
The crew got their heroin from a supplier in the Bronx, where it was packaged and stamped “Goosebumps,” “Transformers,” “Wendy’s” and “New Jack City,” designating the source, Carpenito said.
Investigators watched as Rodriguez delivered stamped bricks of heroin to a confidential source, the U.S. attorney said, adding that Rodriguez was heard discussing drug trafficking on court-authorized wiretaps.
Carpenito credited special agents and task force officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Paterson Police Department with the investigation, which was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
The OCDETF is a partnership among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies dedicated to "identifying and dismantling the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations in the U.S.," Carpenito said.
Handling the case for the government are Senior Trial Counsel Jamie L. Hoxie of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Suchorsky of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
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