A Newark man was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison today for his role in conspiring to distribute more than three kilograms of heroin throughout parts of New Jersey and in the area of Monroeville, Pa., authorities said.
James Edward Pender, 42, was sentenced in federal court in Newark by U.S. District Judge William Walls. In June, Pender had pleaded guilty to knowingly and intentionally conspiring to distribute heroin, authorities said.
Authorities, citing court documents and statements made in court, said that starting in October 2009, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey division used federal wiretaps to intercept Pender’s telephone conversations, including ones in which they heard him agreeing to buy heroin from other people.
Monitored calls and other information gathered by law enforcement, said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, showed that Pender was distributing large amounts of heroin in and around New Jersey — and agents also learned that Pender delivered and directed others to drop off heroin to people in the Monroeville, Pa., area, Fishman said.
On Dec. 9, 2009, agents tracked down Pender as he traveled from New Jersey to the Monroeville area and then they watched him deliver about four kilograms of heroin to a person, authorities said. The drugs were then seized from the recipient.
A few hours later, authorities said, Pender was returning to New Jersey when he was stopped for traffic violations in Readington by police. The police officers then confiscated $339,000 in drug proceeds from Pender.
After the hearing today, Thomas Ambrosio, Pender’s lawyer, called his client’s more-than-24-year sentence "tough." He also noted that his client’s sentence was lengthy, in part, because Pender was labeled a career offender by the court, which exposed him to more time under federal sentencing guidelines. Ambrosio said even though Pender had committed previous crimes, he had argued that Pender doesn’t fall into the parameters of the career-offender category. But his argument was rejected.
"My client accepts responsibility" for his crime, Ambrosio also said.
Pender’s 298-month sentence includes 292 months on the drug charge and six months, to be served consecutively, for violation of supervised release, Fishman’s office added.
By Jason Grant/The Star-Ledger, Tuesday 2nd October 2012.
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