ELIZABETH – Six New Jersey residents were among ten suspects arrested for their alleged roles in an operation to bring cocaine into the Port of New York and New Jersey.
“The DEA New Jersey Division utilized its global investigative arm and netted an international drug trafficking organization that operated a multifaceted criminal enterprise within the New York and New Jersey area, particularly the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal,” said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New Jersey Division of the DEA John G. Mccabe, Jr. “International drug trafficking crosses all criminal boundaries. Through DEA’s single mission investigative process, we hampered this organization’s ability to traffic tons of cocaine.”
According to the criminal complaint, an investigation led by the DEA in New Jersey revealed that a Panamanian drug trafficking organization was importing hundred-kilogram shipments of cocaine hidden inside containers traveling through the Panama Canal, worth millions of dollars each, into secure areas of the Port. The cocaine then was distributed in the Bronx and Manhattan, among other places.
During the course of the investigation, federal and Panamanian law enforcement authorities identified a freight-forwarding operation that removed the cocaine-laden containers from secure areas of the Port, and seized more than 1.3 metric tons of cocaine, valued at over $34 million, from the Panamanian drug trafficking organization and at the Port itself.
The investigation later identified a local drug-trafficking operation that relied on longshoremen to remove the cocaine from containers while they were in secure areas of the Port. An extensive DEA-led wiretap investigation resulted in the identification of alleged members of the local drug-trafficking operation.
The New Jersey residents Robert and Henry Machado, both 49, of Roselle Park; Andre Davis, 35, of West Orange; Jered Lawrence, 35, of Newark; Yampier Odoardo, 34, of Elizabeth Port; and John Demaio, 49, of Bridgewater were charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and one count of conspiracy to import cocaine.
Authorities also announced that Newark resident Arnold Rodgers, 46, a supervisory longshoreman at the Port, was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to import cocaine in a separate complaint.
Both charges carry a mandatory sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
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