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NJ couple faces 20 years for involvement in heroine ring

Drug trafficking is among the most serious drug-related charges people can face here in New Jersey. This is, in part, because drug trafficking is often prosecuted at the federal level. Federal drug offenses can lead to significant jail sentences, among other consequences.

One Bergen County couple has recently pleaded guilty to charges related to drug trafficking. They now face up to 20 years behind bars for their role in a crime ring that involved Mexican drug cartels and heroine deals.

The couple has recently agreed to a plea bargain, which involved admitting their participation in money laundering activities related to the drug operation. reported that the couple pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this week to one count of money laundering conspiracy. The plea means that the couple admitted that from 2010 to 2012 they attempted to hide the source of drug money that had ties to Mexico's La Familia and Sinaloa drug cartels. 

The couple, according to the accusations, would pick up cash and launder it through personal and business accounts before sending it on to conspirators in the U.S., Mexico, and Asia. 

According to the charges, the couple may have laundered as much as $4 million in drug money.

They were arrested in July 2012 after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration busted a Boston-based heroin ring.

As a part of the plea bargain, the two will forfeit their property as well as more than $200,000 that had already been seized from the pair. A sentencing has been scheduled for October.

This case is very complex, and it illustrates some of the multifaceted and global nature of today's drug trade. When people face drug charges--no matter how seemingly insignificant or serious--it is important that they seek legal counsel. In many cases, the best option may be to negotiate an appropriate plea deal--as the defendants chose to do in this case. In other cases, however, strategies may be available that will result in the charges being dismissed or reduced. In other cases still, it is best to actually go to trial and fight the charges.

Those who are facing drug-related criminal charges do still have civil rights and it is important that these rights are protected throughout the criminal process, and that defendants have the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding their defense.

Source:, "Bergen County couple face up to 20 years for financial role in heroin distribution ring," Peter J. Sampson, July 3, 2013

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