mcpo operation snowballFREEHOLD, NJ – Nine members of a Freehold Borough cocaine distribution ring were arrested yesterday, after a nine-month investigation.  The group was moving approximately one-third of a kilogram of cocaine a week, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

The investigation dubbed, “Operation Snowball,” and led by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Office and Criminal Enterprise Unit, culminated with the arrest of Hugo Hernandez, as the leader of a narcotics trafficking enterprise, who was based primarily in the downtown Freehold Borough area.

 

Four search warrants in Freehold Borough, and one search warrant in New Brunswick, were simultaneously executed on Thursday leading to the arrests of nine members of the drug distribution ring. The investigation revealed that Hugo Hernandez supplied numerous lower level dealers, including his brother, Carlos Hernandez-Campos, and Lucino Roldan-Coria a/k/a Rufino Roldan.  Also identified in the operation were lower level dealers Antonio Romano-Jiminez, Miguel Garcia, and Roberto Tlapa De La Era, who delivered cocaine at the direction of Hugo Hernandez to locations in downtown Freehold Borough.

As a result of the investigation over 721 grams of cocaine and $14,943 were seized.

The arrests were made with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Monmouth High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area working group; DEA Special Response Team; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office; and the Asbury Park, Neptune City, Neptune Township, Tinton Falls, Freehold Borough, Manalapan Township, Franklin Township, New Brunswick, Highlands, Middletown Township, Holmdel Township, Keansburg, and Hazlet Township police departments.

Hugo Hernandez, 48, of Freehold Borough, is charged with one count each of first degree Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network; second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine; third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine; first degree Distribution of Cocaine;  eight counts of second degree Distribution of Cocaine; eight counts of second degree Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; one count of third degree Distribution of Cocaine; one count of third degree Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; nine counts of third degree Possession of Cocaine; and one count of first degree Distribution of Cocaine.

Lucino Roldan-Coria, 58, of Freehold Borough, a/k/a Rufino Roldan, is charged with one count each of second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine; third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine; three counts of second degree Distribution of Cocaine; three counts of second degree Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; two counts of third degree Distribution of Cocaine: two counts of third degree Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; five counts of third degree Possession of Cocaine; and one count of first degree Distribution of Cocaine.

Carlos Hernandez-Campos, 35, of New Brunswick, is charged with one count each of second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine; third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine; two counts of second degree Distribution of Cocaine; two counts of second degree Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; two counts of third degree Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute within 1,000 feet of School Property; two counts of third degree Distribution of Cocaine within 1,000 feet of School Property;  two counts of third degree Possession of Cocaine; and one count of first degree Distribution of Cocaine.

Antonio Romano-Jiminez, 29, of Freehold borough, a/k/a Merito Romero-Jimenez, is charged with one count each of second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine; third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine; and first degree Distribution of Cocaine.

Miguel Garcia-Tapia, 30, of Freehold Borough, is charged with one count each of second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine; third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine; third degree Distribution of Cocaine; third degree Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute; third degree Possession of Cocaine; and first degree Distribution of Cocaine.

Procopio Morales-Trinidad, 49, of Freehold Borough, is charged with one count each of second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine; and third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine.

Gregorio Morales-Morales, 35, of Manalapan, is charged with one count of third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine.

John A. Depaola, 53,       of Jackson, is charged with one count of third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine.

Roberto Tlapa De La Era, 35, of Freehold Borough, is charged with one count of third degree Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine.

If convicted of the charge of Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network, Hugo Hernandez faces an ordinary term of life imprisonment without being eligible for parole for 25 years.

If convicted of the first degree offenses, each defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison.

If convicted of the second degree offenses, each defendant faces a sentence of five to ten years in prison on each count. 

If convicted of the third degree offenses, each defendant faces a sentence of three to five years in prison. 

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Paul Alexander and Amanda Dalton.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.