UPS driver, others get probation in 12-kilo cocaine ring
A drug enterprise authorities claimed catered to Passaic, Morris and Bergen customers with kilos of cocaine delivered by a UPS driver along his route has ended with all but one of the defendants involved escaping jail terms.
Asked outside of court about what appeared to be relatively light sentences – probation - given that 12 kilos of cocaine with a street value of $500,000 was seized in raids during the investigation, a prosecutor would only say that the outcome was fair to all.
“It’s one of those evaluation processes you have to make, sometimes. Based on all the evidence in the case, we thought this was the fairest result. It’s based upon all the evidence,” said Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Michael De Marco.
Attorney Harley Breite of Wayne, who represented 14-year UPS driver Amilcar Caballero in the case, was a bit more specific. “There were serious questions about the integrity of one of the state’s most important witnesses,” Breite said outside of court. He declined to say which witness, or what the problem was. “My client was never found to be in possession of drugs. There were no drugs found in his vehicle. There were no drugs founds in his home. He has no prior criminal record,” Breite added.
Authorities alleged that leaders of the notorious Jamaican drug gang Shower Posse would arrange for buyers to meet Caballero, 37, along his assigned route, which included stops in Teaneck and other nearby towns. Authorities said it was in Teaneck where they witnessed Caballero drop off packages of cocaine. Caballero was arrested at the UPS hub in Secaucus after he finished his route on March 21. He was charged with drug distribution and conspiracy and fired by UPS.
Investigators said at the time of the arrests that the group was led by Oral Watson, a 33-year-old Jamaican national from Paterson, and distributed crack and powder cocaine to dealers throughout Passaic, Bergen and Morris counties. Also arrested was Dwight Donald Lewis, 39, of Paterson, who leased an apartment in Hackensack that the gang used as a stash house, authorities said. Laura Kida, 41, of Pine Brook, and Fabricio Zambrano, 29, and Carlos Calle-Munoz, 28, of Dover, were also arrested as associates of Watson and Lewis.
All of the defendants entered guilty pleas to various charges in October and were sentenced Thursdayby state Superior Court Assignment Judge Donald J. Volkert in Paterson.
Caballero was sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance; Calle-Munoz was sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance; Kida was sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled dangerous substance; Lewis was sentenced to time served after being in the Passaic County Jail for 581 days awaiting the case’s resolution, after pleading guilty to conspiracy, intent to distribute and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Watson was sentenced to three years in state prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute, conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Between raids in Hackensack and Paterson, police seized:
* More than 12 kilos of cocaine, with a street value of $500,000
* About $85,000 in cash
* $40,000 worth of jewelry
* A 2007 BMW 530
* A 2006 Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle
Friday, January 22, 2010
BY JOHN PETRICK