PATERSON, N.J. -- A federal judge in Trenton sentenced a Paterson drug kingpin to 13 years in prison Friday for his role as "the primary heroin supplier for a criminal street gang that used threats, intimidation and violence to maintain control of the illegal heroin trade in Atlantic City," U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
Mark Frye, 35, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin.
There is no parole in federal prison.
Fishman said Frye and Maurice Thomas, 34, also of Paterson, worked together in a sophisticated drug distribution scheme based in the Presidential Towers apartment complex in the Passaic County capital.
Law enforcement agents obtained several wiretaps over a period of six months and recorded thousands of phone calls and text messages, including calls among Frye, "Dirty Block” members and Atlantic City heroin dealers.
FBI agents also conducted surveillance of drug meetings at the apartment complex in Paterson, watching various meetings among the defendants in the case.
Frye and Thomas "obtained large quantities of pre-packaged heroin from major drug suppliers in the Paterson area and then supplied the drugs to numerous customers, routinely selling thousands of dollars’ worth of pre-packaged heroin to [them]," Fishman said.
New Jersey State Police troopers arrested Frye on Feb. 17, 2013 after stopping an Audi sedan he was driving on Route 80 in Paterson and finding a bag containing 200 bricks of heroin. Each brick contained 50 individual packets of heroin, for a total of 10,000.
Frye posted bail and was re-arrested by FBI agents a month later on the federal drug conspiracy charge. Sentencing in the state case in Passaic County Superior Court was still pending.
At his plea hearing, Frye admitted that he supplied at least 1,200 bricks of heroin as part of the conspiracy.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Newark Division; the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office; the Atlantic City Police Department; and the South Jersey Safe Streets Violent Incident and Gang (Safe Streets) Task Force, with the investigation leading to Frye's plea and sentencing.
Handling the case for the government are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Askin and Justin Danilewitz of Fishman's office in Camden and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmund Mallqui-Burgos of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
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