Bergen County Officials Dismantle Alleged Heroin Production, Distribution Operation
Bergen County law enforcement officials recently dismantled an alleged heroin production and distribution enterprise believed to be operating out of residences in Closter and Hackensack. As a result, two men have now been charged with multiple offenses, including maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility.
Following an extensive investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office’s Narcotics Task Force, officials executed search warrants at both of the aforementioned residences on Thursday, October 30th. They subsequently arrested 30-year-old Hackensack resident Manuel Olivares-Kunnardt and 29-year-old Haledon resident Esmelby Estevez-Castillo, the primary suspects in this case.
During Thursday’s raids, investigators reportedly discovered heroin, scales, grinders, ink stamps, and other items often involved with drug manufacturing at the Closter home. In addition, they seized approximately $330,000 in cash, a money counter, and a variety of alleged false identification documents at the residence in Hackensack.
According to investigators, the defendants were counting the cash, which is allegedly the product of drug transactions, immediately before they were taken into custody at the Hackensack home. They are now facing charges for maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility and money laundering.
Both men are currently being held at the Bergen County Jail. Estevez-Castillo’s bail has been set at $300,000, while Olivares-Kunnard’s bail is slightly higher because he has also been charged with an offense involving false government documents. The Prosecutor’s Office indicated that this investigation is ongoing, with the potential for further charges being filed.
As of right now, the defendants have been charged with first degree crimes, a classification reserved for the most serious offenses in New Jersey. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4, the statute that governs charges for maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility, they could be sentenced to a term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison. These crimes are also associated with a mandatory minimum term of parole ineligibility that is between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, as well as a fine of up to $750,000.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Police raid alleged heroin ‘mill’ in Closter, two arrested in Hackensack