NEWARK, N.J. - Two New York men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for smuggling cocaine from Panama through Newark Liberty International Airport.
Reginald Estrada, 35, and Michael Rose, 33, both of Brooklyn, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine. The case is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Port Authority Police Department of New York and New Jersey.
Estrada and Rose admitted agreeing to import cocaine by arranging for a courier to transport the drug into the country on a commercial aircraft. As part of the conspiracy, Estrada gave the courier money for a plane ticket for a March 23, 2011 flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to Panama.
On March 27, 2011, the courier returned to Newark Liberty on a commercial aircraft, transporting approximately 1.9 kilos of cocaine. When Estrada and Rose arrived at the airport to pick up the courier, they were apprehended by law enforcement.
"The importation of illegal narcotics into the United States will not be tolerated," said Andrew McLees, acting special agent in charge of HSI in Newark. "We will continue working together with CBP and the Port Authority Police Department of New York and New Jersey to identify and dismantle drug trafficking organizations using our airports with one goal: to keep illegal drugs from being distributed throughout our communities."
If convicted, Estrada and Rose face a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30, 2011.