Hesperia Man Sentenced for Cross-Country Cocaine Transport Operation

TRENTON, NJ – A Hesperia man was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for his cross-country tractor-trailer drug transport operation, the New Jersey Attorney General announced.

Belarmino Amaya pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and for money laundering. Amaya was sentenced on Monday, October 31, 2016, to 12 years in prison with four years of parole ineligibility on the drug charge, and a concurrent sentence of 10 years in prison with 39 months of parole ineligibility on the money laundering charge. “Two separate arrests, one by federal agents and another by the New Jersey State Police, revealed that Amaya was moving multiple kilo quantities of cocaine and millions of dollars in illicit profits across the United States,” said Attorney General Porrino.

On December 5, 2014, federal agents of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, acting on a tip that the California truck driver was transporting multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine across the country located and began watching Amaya. At around 10:00 p.m. that night, as Amaya traveled on Route 78, he stopped at a Little Ferry, New Jersey hotel. Agents made contact with Amaya who admitted that he was transporting cocaine in the trailer. During a consensual search of the trailer, agents located approximately 21 kilograms of cocaine under T-shirts in cabinets on both sides of the trailer.

The money laundering charge was related to a January 23, 2009 arrest, also in New Jersey, when Amaya and a 38-year-old Los Angeles resident, Carlos Mario Mejia were stopped by New Jersey State Police. The police began tracking the truck starting earlier that day because it bore the name of a firm linked to a prior money laundering probe. The vehicle was stopped at around 5:15 a.m. that day as it traveled north on US-1 and 9 in New Jersey. The Volvo tractor trailer, which was owned by Mejia, was found to be carrying $1.2 million in cash in the  sleeper compartment after both Amaya and Mejia giving consent for the search. Both men had conflicting reports about their travels. Mejia was sentenced on September 10, 2012 to 10 years in prison for money laundering.

“Amaya was fueling addiction and supplying the violent drug trade in our communities by trafficking huge quantities of narcotics into New Jersey,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’ll continue to work with our law enforcement partners at all levels to lock up major drug suppliers like this defendant.”

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