Three New York men have been charged with smuggling huge amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine into Hudson County, getting busted with $700,000 worth of narcotics, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachel Honig announced.
Juan Carlos Merced Moreno, also known as “Samuel,” 43; Antonio Hidalgo, aka “Cacona,” 43, and Jose Miguel Abreu, aka “Pelu,” 26, all from Manhattan, NY, are charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of suspected fentanyl, 500 grams or more of suspected methamphetamine, and 500 grams or more of suspected cocaine, Honig said in a statement.
Merced Moreno appeared by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor and was detained. Hidalgo is in custody on other charges while Abreu is at large.
In February 2019, law enforcement officials began investigating a drug trafficking organization based in Hudson County and intercepted telephone calls made by its members.
Officials learned of a fentanyl pill press based being operated by Moreno, Hidalgo and Abreu in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.
Based on intercepted telephone calls and surveillance between November 2020 and January 2021, law enforcement officials learned the defendants supplied fentanyl pills to the New Jersey drug trafficking organization, which subsequently distributed them throughout New Jersey.
Law enforcement believes that the three defendants supplied approximately at least 25,000 fentanyl pills to the New Jersey organization.
Law enforcement officials began to intercept telephone calls made and received by Moreno and Hidalgo, as well as telephone calls between the two men and Abreu, and identified various residences and stash locations in Manhattan associated with the DTO-NY.
On January 29th, 2021, law enforcement officials executed search warrants on Moreno’s residence, Hidalgo’s residence, Abreu’s residence and other stash and manufacturing locations.
They recovered 5.4 kilograms of a suspected combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl, 1.7 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine in a crystalized rock form, 1.6 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine pills, 1.5 kilograms of suspected fentanyl pills, 1.3 kilograms of suspected cocaine, 788 grams of suspected fentanyl in brick form, two pill presses, $11,180, and four scales.
The seized narcotics have an estimated street value of $700,000.
The drug distribution conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, and a maximum $10 million fine.