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New Jersey man pleads guilty in prison drug smuggling operation

A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering charges after a drug-smuggling operation was discovered at the East Jersey State Prison. The man was convicted of smuggling drugs and cell-phones. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that he be sentenced to five years in state prison.

According to a report, the man received money from a member of the Lucchese crime family to acquire contraband including heroin, cocaine, marijuana and pre-paid cell phones. He then gave the contraband to a corrections officer at the East Jersey State Prison who smuggled the contraband into the prison. Drugs and cell phones were distributed to inmates who had placed orders through the man's brother, an inmate at the prison.

The operation also involved several individuals who collected money orders and checks and delivered proceeds to a member of the Lucchese crime family. Charges against others involved in the scheme are pending. The alleged conspirators are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau called Operation Heat led to the arrests. The operation resulted in the indictment of two ruling members of the Lucchese crime family and 32 other members and associates. Charges against most of the defendants are pending. The 33-year-old New Jersey man who pleaded guilty will be sentenced on August 3. As a condition of the plea agreement he will be required to cooperate fully and provide truthful testimony during the ongoing prosecution of other the alleged co-conspirators.

Source: Asbury Park Press, "Drug smuggling into Woodbridge prison caught," June 27, 2012

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