22 Years in Prison for Leader of Drug Operation in Atlantic City
CAMDEN, N.J. – An Atlantic City man was sentenced today to 264 months in prison for his role in a drug trafficking and money laundering operation in the Atlantic County area, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Officials said in a press release, Toye Tutis, 46, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle to Count One of a second superseding indictment, charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin, and Count 13 charging him with conspiring with his long-time paramour, Jazmin Vega, 45, to launder his drug trafficking proceeds.
Officials say Vega also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to launder Tutis’ drug proceeds in Count 13 and is scheduled to be sentenced June 14, 2019.
“Defendant Tutis laundered more than just clothing at his Atlantic City laundromat – he also laundered the proceeds of his significant heroin and cocaine drug trafficking ring,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “The sentence handed down today punctuates the end of both his drug trafficking and his money laundering activities, and is yet another example of our efforts to clean up the streets of Atlantic City and the towns surrounding it.”
“This defendant littered the streets of Atlantic City and surrounding areas with dangerous drugs and then washed the money through his laundromat, various businesses and multiple real estate transactions,” FBI Newark Special Agent-in-Charge Gregory W. Ehrie said.
“The magnitude of his crimes may never be fully known but his actions fed a deadly drug epidemic that claims countless lives. The FBI is committed to working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to drive drug traffickers like Toye Tutis out of business and rid the community of these threats to public health and public safety.”
“Mr. Tutis’ actions show his main concern was making a profit off the misery of others,” said Susan A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division. “His term in federal prison will allow him to experience some misery of his own. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue those who choose to poison our community.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2010 through December 2014, Tutis operated a large-scale drug trafficking ring out of the Ta’Ja Laundromat in Atlantic City, purchasing and distributing between 150 to 450 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 26 kilograms of heroin, and laundering between $1.5 million and $3 million in drug proceeds.
Tutis was aided by Vega, who admitted to laundering his drug trafficking proceeds in several ways, including through the couple’s various businesses – Ta’Ja Construction I LLC; Ta’Ja Real Estate Investors LLC; and Integrity Heating and Cooling LLC; and by purchasing more than 30 properties with tainted funds. As part of their plea agreements, Vega and Tutis have to forfeit 20 properties, cash and other assets.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Simandle sentenced Tutis to five years of supervised release.
Nine other people have pleaded guilty to participating in the drug trafficking conspiracy or other related drug trafficking in the Atlantic County area, including:
• Kabaka Atiba, 49, of Atlantic City, sentenced on Oct. 16, 2017, to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release;
• Tozine Tiller, 45, of Absecon, sentenced on Jan. 3, 2018, to 235 months in prison and five years of supervised release;
• TeJohn Cooper, 45, of Galloway Township, sentenced on Sept. 12, 2017, to 96 months in prison and one year of supervised release;
• Ronald Douglas Byrd, 53, of Pleasantville, sentenced on July 11, 2017, to 96 months in prison and five years of supervised release;
• Kareem Taylor, 43, of Atlantic City, sentencing scheduled for June 3, 2019;
• Talib Tiller, 46, of Mays Landing, sentenced on Sept. 5, 2017, to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release;
• John Wellman, 43, of Somers Point, sentenced on July 13, 2017, to 130 months in prison and five years of supervised release;
• Phillip Horton, 53, of Los Angeles, California, sentencing scheduled for June 3, 2019;
• and Francisco Alberto Rascon-Muracami, 25, of Obregon, Mexico, sentenced on Oct. 30, 2015, to 70 months in prison and five years of supervised release.