Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim announced Wednesday the arrest of five individuals whom conspired to distribute more than 1,300 pounds of candles, shaped like the male sexual organ, laced with methamphetamine.
The defendants include:
- Twenty-six-year-old Santos Minjarez
- Twenty-eight-year-old Jose Luis Gonzalez-Solis
- Twenty-seven-year-old Cindy Carrillo
- Thirty-three-year-old Orlando Alcantara
- Thirty-year-old Austin Zamora-Vega, aka “Julio Cesar”
All of the defendants were arrest Tuesday night in New Jersey.
Law enforcement agents were alerted in August 2017 that Zamora-Vega was looking for a storage facility to convert methamphetamine into crystal meth. An undercover agent transported Zamora-Vega to a New Jersey warehouse, where he could store and covert the methamphetamine into crystal form on August 17, 2017, according to court documents.
Zamora-Vega told the undercover officer a large shipment of methamphetamine would arrive in Long Island, New York on August 29, 2017. The undercover met Zamora-Vega, Minjarez, Alcantara and Gonzalez-Solis and Carrillo at a New Jersey hotel and observed the boxes of “meth candles.” The defendants transported the drugs to the warehouse in New Jersey.
All of the defendants face a maximum life imprisonment.
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As alleged, the defendants worked to distribute a massive quantities of methamphetamine, concealed in wax candles. As creative as these defendants were, allegedly hiding dangerous drugs in a common household item, law enforcement was on top of this newest scheme.”
HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez said: “These individuals allegedly possessed more than half a ton of wax candles that would be melted down and converted into crystal meth, eventually introducing more of these destructive synthetic drugs onto our streets. Drug traffickers are always thinking of more creative ways to store and traffic their drugs. But the ever evolving way in which investigations are conducted and information is shared among law enforcement is key to identifying and prosecuting these criminals.”