TRENTON – A Woodbridge man was convicted at trial today of possessing a kilo of cocaine, which he had agreed to sell to an undercover detective of the New Jersey State Police, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced.
Anthony M. Fernandez, 26, was found guilty by a Middlesex County jury following a trial before Superior Court Judge Dennis V. Nieves. He was convicted of first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and third-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison on the first-degree charge, and will have to serve one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed without possibility of parole.
A second man, Brad Toby, 27, of Perth Amboy, was arrested with Fernandez and faces pending drug charges, including a first-degree distribution charge.
Deputy Attorney General Russell J. Curley tried the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. It stemmed from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Narcotics Central Unit. Nieves scheduled Fernandez to be sentenced on Nov. 29.
“We’re aggressively targeting large-scale distribution of narcotics in New Jersey, whether it is by individual dealers such as this man or major drug networks with gang ties,” said Chiesa. “Those who sell large quantities of drugs such as cocaine for redistribution serve to supply the street-level dealing that is inextricably linked to gun violence in our communities.”
“We’ll continue to work with the New Jersey State Police to take major drug dealers off the street and keep them behind bars for as long as possible,” said Stephen J. Taylor, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’re sending a clear message to these criminals that there is a huge down side to trafficking ‘distribution’ quantities of drugs.”
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the detectives who worked on this investigation,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the State Police. “The cooperative efforts of the State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice led to the arrest and successful prosecution of a major cocaine dealer and made the streets safer for the citizens of the state.”
Fernandez and Toby were arrested by State Police detectives at Fernandez’s residence on Judy Drive in Woodbridge on Sept. 22, 2011. The State Police had obtained information that Fernandez was selling large quantities of cocaine. Working with cooperating witnesses, the State Police had arranged to have Fernandez sell a kilo of cocaine to an undercover detective. Fernandez was arrested when he left his house to approach the undercover detective. As members of the State Police TEAMS Unit entered the residence, Toby allegedly attempted to flee through the back of the property but was arrested. The State Police executed a search warrant at the residence and seized a duffle bag containing approximately one kilo of powder cocaine, which Toby allegedly had just delivered to Fernandez. They also found a pound of marijuana in clear plastic bags, which Fernandez was keeping in his child’s bedroom. That was the basis for the child endangerment charge against Fernandez.
Toby was indicted on charges including first-degree distribution of cocaine and second-degree conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The charges against Toby are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The first-degree narcotics charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Under New Jersey law, that charge carries a period of parole ineligibility equal to one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while the third-degree marijuana charge carries a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
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