Irvington Township, N.J. - The New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force, which is comprised of the Division of Criminal Justice, Newark Police Department, and Bloomfield Police Department, arrested Juan Rodriguez, 43, and Beatrice Sepulveda, 29, both of Irvington Township, N.J., and shut down a narcotics processing mill, seizing 27 pounds of fentanyl pills and other narcotics.
Police say on Monday, November 5, a commercial box truck was reported stolen in Montville, N.J. Working with the Montville Police Department, detectives from the Auto Theft Task Force were able to locate the stolen vehicle on Grove Street in Irvington.
During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspects were in possession of the stolen truck.
According to police, on Tuesday, November 6, the task force executed a search warrant at the couple’s residence on Grove Street where they were arrested without incident.
While searching the residence, detectives seized 27 pounds of fentanyl pills, 2 kilograms of powder fentanyl, 1 kilogram of bath salts, 1 ounce of heroin, 50 bricks of packaged heroin, drug production and packaging paraphernalia, a 9 mm handgun, hollow point ammunition, a firearms suppressor, body armor, and more than $20,000 cash.
Detectives additionally recovered $325,000 worth of stolen tools and boxes of wood flooring, which was originally inside the box truck.
“Lives were undoubtedly saved as a result of this huge seizure of fentanyl pills and powder,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “Far too many people are dying in New Jersey from overdoses of fentanyl, as drug dealers recklessly mix this super-potent opioid with heroin or substitute it for heroin or oxycodone.
We are aggressively targeting those who profit from this deadly drug, and these arrests by the State Police Auto Theft Task Force, assisted by the Montville Police, are a great example of those efforts.”
“We know that just trace amounts of fentanyl coming into contact with skin is enough to sicken or kill an adult, which really puts the magnitude of this seizure into perspective,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “The amount of fentanyl seized alone as a result of this investigation had the potential to kill hundreds of thousands people, including police officers, first responders or unsuspecting children.
We will continue to work with our partners to aggressively pursue those who seek to flood our streets with deadly narcotics.”
“This seizure of such a large amount fentanyl will undoubtedly save countless lives. Fentanyl is an extremely lethal substance that poses a serious risk not only to the public at large but also to law enforcement and other first responders who come into contact with the substance.
The officers who conducted this operation faced an increased risk due to the substantial amount of fentanyl at the arrest location. As our state and county are dealing with an opioid crisis, the seizure of this amount of fentanyl and heroin will hopefully limit the amount of these substances available for sale in the illicit drug markets.
This office will continue to partner with the New Jersey State Police and other law enforcement agencies as we work towards removing dangerous drugs from our streets,” said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, who added that his office “will aggressively prosecute those arrested in this matter.”
Juan Rodriguez and Beatrice Sepulveda were charged with the following:
Maintaining and operating a CDS production facility
Receiving stolen property
Possession with intent to distribute CDS
Possession of a firearm while committing a CDS crime
Possession of CDS
Possession of a firearm silencer
Possession of hollow-point ammunition
Possession with intent to use CDS
Rodriguez and Sepulveda were lodged at Essex County Correctional Facility pending a bail detention hearing.
The New Jersey State Police Hazmat Unit and Irvington Police Department also assisted with this investigation, and the case is being prosecuted by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.