Inmate Sentenced To 7 More Years For Role In Prison Smuggling Scheme

TRENTON – A state prison inmate was sentenced to an additional seven years in prison yesterday for organizing a smuggling scheme that used a correction officer to bring pre-paid cell phones and narcotics into Northern State Prison in Newark, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced.

The inmate’s brother was also in court yesterday in Middlesex County, pleading guilty to assisting in the scheme by receiving funds wired by inmates, which he gave to the correction officer for the contraband items. The charges stem from Operation Empire, a joint investigation by the New Jersey State Police, Department of Corrections and Division of Criminal Justice.


Angel Vasquez, 54, a former inmate at Northern State Prison in Newark who now is in South Woods State Prison, was sentenced Monday by Superior Court Judge Mathias E. Rodriguez to seven years in state prison, which he must serve consecutively to his current sentence. Vasquez is serving a manslaughter sentence of 50 years, including 20 years of parole ineligibility, which began in 1994.

Vasquez pleaded guilty on June 10 to a charge of second-degree racketeering, admitting that he organized a scheme in Northern State Prison in which he enlisted a former senior correction officer, Luis S. Roman, to smuggle heroin and wireless telephones into the prison for Vasquez to sell to other inmates.

Vasquez’ brother, Justiniano Vasquez, 61, of the Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty Monday before Rodriquez to a charge of second-degree racketeering. He admitted that, at the direction of his brother Angel, he cashed checks that were wired to him by inmates. He admitted that he provided the cash from the checks to Roman for the purchase of cell phones and narcotics that Roman smuggled into Northern State Prison. The state will recommend that Justiniano Vasquez be sentenced to five to seven years in state prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 26.

On April 18, Roman, 47, of Avenel, pleaded guilty to racketeering and official misconduct before Rodriguez. The state will recommend that Roman be sentenced to 14 years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility. He is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 3.

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