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February 16, 2023Newark, NJ, United StatesNarcotics

HSI Newark investigation leads to Hudson County man’s guilty plea in participation in conspiracy to distribute fentanyl

NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man today admitted that he conspired to possess fentanyl with the intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel announced.

Miguel Polanco, 31, of Union City, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of a substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl.

“By targeting heroin and fentanyl supply sources, HSI is preventing these dangerous drugs from reaching the street,” said Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel. “We will continue to work closely with our partners to dismantle these drug trafficking networks.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In May 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted a package being shipped from Mexico City, Mexico, to Polanco at his apartment. Inspection of the package revealed that it contained a substance that tested positive for the presence of fentanyl.

Prior to receiving the package, Polanco received a video from a conspirator explaining how to properly remove the bags of fentanyl concealed inside the package to minimize the damage to its contents. Polanco also engaged in multiple conversations with conspirators where he learned of the quantity of fentanyl that would be sent to him as well as instruction on where to deliver the package after he received it. In exchange for receiving and transporting the package containing fentanyl, Polanco was to be paid.

The conspiracy charge carries a statutory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million, or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain, whichever is greater.

HSI Newark Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel would like to thank HSI Laredo; U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Laredo and Newark; U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark; and the Elizabeth Police Department who supported the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit in Newark.

About Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 02/17/2023