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Trenton Man Admits Role in Drug Trafficking Organization


A Mercer County man today admitted his role as the leader of a Trenton drug-trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of heroin in the Trenton area, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

According to U.S. Attorney Sellinger, Robert M. Gbanapolor, 35, of Trenton, pleaded guilty to a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and distribution and possession with intent to distribute a detectable amount of heroin.

Ten other members of this drug trafficking conspiracy have previously pleaded guilty in this case.

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

From June 2018 through May 2019, Gbanapolor and others engaged in a heroin trafficking conspiracy in the areas of Stuyvesant, Hoffman, and Highland avenues in Trenton, as well as in the area of Barbary Road in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Gbanapolor obtained regular bulk supplies of heroin from Duane Paulino-Escalera, whom Gbanapolor referred to as “Papi.” 

Gbanapolor, in turn, distributed this heroin for profit to other members of the drug-trafficking organization, who distributed the heroin in and around Trenton. 

Paulino-Escalera pleaded guilty in January 2020 and was sentenced on May 7, 2021, to five years in prison.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation. 

OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. 

Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at