Two New York City-area men who were targets of a narcotics investigation and crashed their cocaine-laden SUV in a Union County park while attempting to elude capture in 2016 have been sentenced to a combined total of 40 years in state prison, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Monday.
According to authorities, Angel Ernesto Cesar of Yonkers, N.Y. was sentenced to 24 years and Ariel Jazmin of the Washington Heights section of Manhattan was sentenced to 16 years Friday by state Superior Court Judge Daniel R. Lindemann. The two defendants were 25 and 27, respectively, at the time of their arrests.
Officials say a Union County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force investigation assisted by the Linden Police Department led detectives to the area of Alberta Avenue in Linden at approximately 11 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jeremiah Lenihan, who prosecuted the case.
According to police at that location, Cesar and Jazmin were located in a Chevrolet Suburban SUV, and as the detectives attempted to initiate a traffic stop, Cesar sped away at a high rate of speed, steering around several police vehicles and continuing onto a sidewalk and back onto the street, Lenihan said.
Police say the Suburban shortly thereafter entered nearby Warinanco Park in Roselle, where it collided with a tree. Cesar was arrested at the scene of the accident, and Jazmin was apprehended following a brief foot pursuit. Approximately one kilogram of cocaine was recovered at the scene, along with packaged materials made to appear to be additional narcotics.
Following a multi-week trial before Judge Lindemann and several hours of jury deliberation spread over two days, the two defendants were convicted in April 2018 of first-degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and two related third-degree drug offenses.
According to authorities, Cesar was additionally convicted of a count of second-degree eluding police, while Jazmin was also convicted on a charge of fourth-degree resisting arrest.
Officials say defendant Jazmin was on federal parole for crimes including racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder when he was arrested in Union County, while Cesar also has a previous indictable conviction for robbery in New York.