TRENTON (WTXF) - Attorney General Porrino of New Jersey announced the sentencing of a man today on charges that he was a supplier who sold heroin to other dealers as part of a major heroin supply network in Camden.
The man was indicted as a result of "Operation China White," a joint investigation led by the NJ State Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the NJ Division of Criminal Justice. He was also charged in a second indictment that was the result of a second investigation by the same agencies called "Operation 3Ni."
27-year-old Wilson Fortuna was sentenced to 11 years in state prison, including more than three years of parole ineligibility.
Fortuna pleaded guilty on March 22 to first-degree distribution of heroin and second-degree conspiracy, according to a press release.
The investigations revealed that Fortuna was a heroin supplier who sold heroin to dealers in the ring targeted in Operation China White, the press release states. Officials state that he was also an alleged heroin dealer arrested in Operation 3Ni.
Fortuna obtained heroin from a heroin mill that his uncle, Jose O. Fortuna, maintained inside his residence in the 300 block of North 41 st Street in Camden.
40-year-old Jose Fortuna was sentenced on April 29 to 14 and a half years in prison, including five years of parole ineligibility. On March 22, he pled guilty to first-degree maintaining a heroin production facility and first-degree distribution of heroin.
The press release states that a third defendant, 32-year-old Andy Lopez, was sentenced on April 29 to 10 years in state prison with five years of parole ineligibility, due to his guilty plea to first-degree distribution of heroin.
"As a major heroin supplier, this defendant cashed in on the suffering and death caused by opiate addiction in our communities," said Attorney General Porrino. "We'll continue to crack down on the drug traffickers responsible for this epidemic, including heroin dealers as well as those who illegally divert the prescription pain pills that are a gateway to this addiction."
"By taking down heroin mills and wholesale dealers, we are constricting the supply of deadly heroin in Camden," said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. "I commend our partners in the State Police and DEA for their exemplary investigation, which combined undercover drug purchases and surveillance to track the heroin being sold by these dealers."
"Our detectives and undercover troopers working to take down drug dealers are performing a great service for our state. It's not something that everyone is cut out for, but I am very proud of their results. Every dealer they put in jail potentially represents fewer lives lost to overdoses, and less violence on New Jersey streets," said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
Wilson and Jose Fortuna were arrested in October 2013. The press release states that search warrants were executed by detectives at the homes of both men.
At Jose Fortuna's home, investigators found a heroin production facility in the basement that contained a steel hydraulic press, 12 containers of a dietary supplement used as a cutting agent, scales, tools used for cutting and packaging, a currency counter, and $30,000 in cash. They also found a plastic bag containing three-quarters of a kilo of heroin.
Lopez was charged in connection with two sales of first-degree quantities of heroin to an undercover officer, according to the press release.
On July 24, 2013 he sold more than five ounces of heroin to an undercover officer at a location next to Von Nieda Park in Camden. Then on October 10, 2013, he sold nearly nine ounces of heroin to the undercover officer at the same location.
Officials say that the heroin for the second transaction was obtained from Wilson Fortuna immediately prior to the sale. Lopez was arrested following that sale.