Two men are facing charges based on the seizure of approximately 45 pounds of deadly fentanyl.
Luis Aponte, 48, of Hesperia, California, and Denny Diaz, 29, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were charged by complaint with one count conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl.
They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Dickson in Newark federal court. The defendants were detained without bail.
Aponte on Friday drove a tractor trailer from California to a rest stop in Bloomsbury where he stayed, according to court documents. Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration were following him.
On Saturday, Aponte got out of a truck with a backpack. Authorities saw Aponte remove a plastic bag from the backpack and put it behind the driver’s seat before driving off, according to court documents.
Both were later stopped in the Jeep by authorities where they searched it and discovered about 15 pounds of fentanyl in the plastic bagl, heroin and $17,000 in cash.
They arrested Diaz and Aponte, who later waived his Miranda rights and said he had more drugs in the tractor-trailer. Agents searched the truck cab and a refrigerator on board and found another 29 pounds of fentanyl and 11 pounds of heroin.
The count with which the defendants are charged carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.
They made their initial court appearances in Newark federal court. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Macurdy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.