TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Philadelphia drug dealer was sentenced to state prison today in connection with his trial conviction for trafficking 1.5 kilograms of heroin laced with the super-potent synthetic opioid fentanyl into New Jersey.
Francisco Delarosa-Luna, 31, of Philadelphia, Pa., was sentenced to 17 years in state prison, including seven years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Robert W. Bingham II in Mercer County. On Feb. 7, 2019, Delarosa-Luna was found guilty by a Mercer County jury of charges of first-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) with intent to distribute and third-degree possession of CDS. The verdict followed a three-week trial.
Deputy Attorney General Jamey Collidge and Deputy Attorney General Erik Daab, Deputy Chief of the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, tried Delarosa-Luna for the Division of Criminal Justice. They were assisted by Technical Assistant Maureen Hitchens. Delarosa-Luna was indicted in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Philadelphia/Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.
Fentanyl is one of the deadliest opioids, with a potency that is 50 times greater than heroin. It frequently is mixed with heroin, yielding doses of unpredictable and often lethal strength. Deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs have increased tenfold over the past four years in New Jersey, with 1,379 fatal overdoses involving the synthetic opioid reported in 2017, according to preliminary data.
“Delarosa-Luna was trafficking large quantities of heroin laced with fentanyl into New Jersey, where far too many people are dying from this dangerous mix of opioids,” said Attorney General Grewal. “As fentanyl-related deaths have spiked in New Jersey, we have focused collaborative law enforcement efforts on stopping the drug dealers bringing this poison into our communities. This sentence reflects our determination to investigate and prosecute these offenders aggressively.”
“I commend our trial team and the detectives and agents of the New Jersey State Police and DEA HIDTA Task Force who enabled us to convict this drug trafficker and send him to prison,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “By putting Delarosa-Luna behind bars, we have shut off one more supply line by which opioids were reaching New Jersey and fueling addiction.”
“By trafficking large amounts of heroin laced with fentanyl, Delarosa-Luna showed a complete disregard for human life. If this heroin made it to the streets, the threat of fatal overdoses would have put the public at significant risk,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “The New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will remain steadfast in our collaborative efforts to remove these dangerous drugs from our streets.”
Susan A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division said, “The sentencing of Francisco Delarosa-Luna will keep a very dangerous person off the street. There is no telling how many lives could have been lost had his heroin and fentanyl made it into the community. This investigation demonstrated how collaboration between law enforcement partners yields great results and we will continue to forge these partnerships.”
The New Jersey State Police developed information about a heroin supplier known as “El Jefe” (“The Chief”) who was distributing heroin throughout New Jersey that he obtained from sources in both Philadelphia and New Jersey. With assistance from the DEA Philadelphia/Camden HIDTA Task Force, the State Police identified the dealer as Delarosa-Luna and learned that he was preparing to distribute a large quantity of heroin in New Jersey. The New Jersey State Police used a confidential source to arrange to purchase heroin from Delarosa-Luna at a parking lot in Ewing, N.J. Delarosa-Luna used Uber to travel to the location. He was arrested by the State Police on Oct. 5, 2017 after he arrived at the parking lot, carrying a bag marked “Birthday.” The bag held two plastic-wrapped rectangular packages, which testing revealed contained approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin laced with fentanyl.
Deputy Attorney General Collidge and Deputy Bureau Chief Daab prosecuted the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau under the supervision of Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis and Deputy Division Director Jill Mayer. Detective Joseph Czech was the lead detective for the State Police Intelligence Section, Violent & Organized Crime Control Bureau, Trafficking Central Unit.
Attorney General Grewal commended the attorneys and all of the detectives and agents who conducted the investigation for the New Jersey State Police and DEA Philadelphia/Camden HIDTA Task Force.
Assistant Deputy Public Defender Kathleen Redpath-Perez, Mercer County.
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