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Leader of Major Camden Heroin Ring Sentenced to 10 Years in State Prison

Fred Alvarado, 49, must serve 8 and a half years before being eligible for parole. He was indicted following "Operation Billboard" in 2013.

A Camden man was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for his leadership role in a major narcotics network with ties to the Ñetas street gang that was dealing large quantities of heroin in Camden, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced on Friday.

The ring, which operated near 4th and Royden streets, was dismantled in 2012.

Fred Alvarado, 49, must serve 8 and a half years before being eligible for parole. He pleaded guilty on April 29 to first-degree racketeering.

A total of 36 people were indicted as part of “Operation Billboard” in 2013. Of the 36 indicted, the following 18 have already been sentenced, in addition to Alvarado:

  1. William Alvarez, 38.  Sentenced Nov. 22 to 8 years in prison, with 4 years parole ineligibility.
  2. Miguel Bello, 23, of Pennsauken.  Sentenced Dec. 6 to 5 years in prison, with 2 ½ years parole ineligibility.
  3. Wilkins Castro, 34.  Sentenced Jan. 10 to 7 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.
  4. Cindy Scanes, 28.  Sentenced Jan. 17 to 7 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.
  5. JessMarie Ramirez, 32.  Sentenced Jan. 17 to 7 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.  Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution in a school zone.
  6. Calvin Lewis, 24, of Blackwood.  Sentenced Jan. 17 to 5 years in prison, with 2 ½ years parole ineligibility.
  7. Jonathan Vasquez, 20.  Sentenced Jan. 17 to 5 years in prison.
  8. Jonathan Roman, 24.  Sentenced Jan. 24 to 7 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.  Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution in a school zone.
  9. Victoria Ventura, 25. Sentenced Jan. 24 to 5 years in prison, with 2 ½ years parole ineligibility.
  10. Victor Serrano, 21.  Sentenced Jan. 31 to 5 years in prison.
  11. William Rivera, 22. Sentenced Jan. 31 to 5 years in prison, with 2 ½ years parole ineligibility.
  12. Dewayne Shines, 23.  Sentenced Feb. 14 to 5 years in prison.
  13. Hassan Torres, 26.  Sentenced Feb. 14 to 5 years in prison, with 2 years parole ineligibility.  Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution in a school zone.
  14. Jose O. Diaz, 22.  Sentenced March 21 to 6 years in prison, with 2 years parole ineligibility.  Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution in a school zone.
  15. Juan Santana, 55.  Sentenced March 28 to 6 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.
  16. Angel Martinez, 29.  Sentenced May 2 to 9 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.
  17. Edguardo Ortiz, 22.  Sentenced May 2 to 7 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.
  18. Sebastian Cordero, 21.  Sentenced May 23 to 6 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.  Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution in a school zone.

The following eight people from Camden are still awaiting sentencing, but have plead guilty to racketerring, except where other charges are indicated:

1.     Timothy Peters, 25.  Faces sentence of 5 years in prison, with 2 ½ years parole ineligibility.

2.     Luis Vazquez, 22.  Faces sentence of 5 years in prison, with 2 years parole ineligibility.

3.     Julio Medina, 23.  Faces sentence of 5 years in prison, with 2 years parole ineligibility.  Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution in a school zone.

4.     Michael Ortiz, 21.  Faces sentence of 7 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.

5.     Christopher Vasquez, 23.  Faces sentence of 7 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.  Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution in a school zone.

6.     George Rivera, 29.  Faces sentence of 7 years in prison, with 3 years parole ineligibility.

7.     Samuel Serrano, 26.  Faces sentence of 6 years in prison, with 2 years parole ineligibility.

8.     Giovanni Mercado, 23.  Faces sentence of five years in prison.  Pleaded guilty to distribution of narcotics in a school zone.

Noel Gonzalez, 44, a reputed member of the Ñetas, was indicted as part of the operation, but died of natural causes in June of 2013 with charges still pending.

His partner Michael Rivera, 30, of Camden, faces charges that include the first-degree crime of leader of a narcotics trafficking network, which carries a sentence of life in prison, including 25 years without parole.

“By shutting down this heroin ring, which controlled open-air drug markets in a large section of Camden near the Central Waterfront, we had an immediate impact in reducing violence and improving the quality of life for residents,” Hoffman said.  “With nearly 30 guilty pleas so far, we’re keeping these drug dealers behind bars so they can’t reestablish their reign of violence.”

 

The investigation revealed that Gonzalez and Rivera ran a large-scale drug distribution network that was dealing up to tens of thousands of dollars in heroin per week.  In addition to Gonzalez, the leadership of the network included other members of the Ñetas and Latin Kings street gangs. The network had a well-defined hierarchy and used guns and violence to protect its territory.

At the time of the initial arrests, investigators executed search warrants at Gonzalez’s residence and four other residences.  During the arrests and searches, authorities seized approximately three-quarters of a kilo of heroin; approximately $52,000 in cash; about $20,000 in counterfeit U.S. currency, and a .40-caliber handgun.  Eight vehicles also were seized.

“In the past three years, we’ve taken down three major heroin rings in Camden with our law enforcement partners,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice.  “Through these operations, we’ve assisted the Camden County Police Department in their highly successful efforts to curb violence, and we’ve eliminated significant suppliers of the heroin that is destroying far too many lives in New Jersey.”

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