NEWARK-Two men who are charged based on the seizure of more than 20 kilograms of fentanyl made their initial court appearances in Newark federal court today, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
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.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Aponte allegedly drove a truck to a rest stop in Bloomsbury, New Jersey, on March 1, 2019. The next day, he and Diaz met in a car and, once inside, Aponte gave Diaz approximately seven kilograms of fentanyl. Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested the two men and searched Aponte’s truck. They found an additional 13 kilograms of fentanyl and five kilograms of heroin inside.
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.
This case is being investigated by the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprising agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department and New York State Police. U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, New York Division; New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill; and N.Y. State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett with the investigation leading to the arrests.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Macurdy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.