Three suspects — one from the Bronx and two from Kansas — arrested by N.J. State Police outside the Kearny Walmart in October, were indicted Friday on first-degree drug charges, Acting N.J. Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced.
When the trio were nabbed, they were allegedly in possession of nearly one pound of methamphetamine.
Named in the indictment obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau were: Juan Perez-Nunez, 46, of the Bronx; Juan Guerrero-Estrada, 30, of Olathe, Kan.; and Juan Flores-Santos, 37, of Kansas City, Kan.
According to Hoffman’s office, the defendants were arrested on Oct. 22 after Perez-Nunez met up with the other two men in the Walmart parking lot, which was under surveillance by a State Police anti-drug trafficking unit.
The officers reportedly first spotted a Mercedes-Benz with a Kansas plate parked in a remote area of the lot. The car, occupied by Guerrero-Estrada and Flores-Santos, later slowly circled the lot and then parked in a new location, where Perez- Nunez arrived driving a Honda Civic, authorities said.
The drivers spoke outside their cars, and Perez-Nunez then pulled the Honda alongside the Mercedes. At that point, a red-and-white plastic bag reportedly was tossed from the Mercedes into the rear window of the Honda.
As both vehicles departed, they were stopped by the state troopers.
Police said Perez-Nunez consented to a search of the Honda, in which they found the bag, allegedly containing nearly 16 ounces of crystal meth. The three were then arrested.
In the indictment handed up by the state grand jury, each of the defendants was charged with second-degree conspiracy, first-degree possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and third-degree possession of meth.
Guerrero-Estrada and Flores- Santos also were charged with first-degree distribution of methamphetamine.
The first-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $300,000. The seconddegree charge carries a five-to- 10-year sentence and a fine of up to $150,000; the third-degree charge, three to five years and a fine of up to $35,000.
The indictment was handed up in Mercer County to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson, who has assigned the case to Hudson County.
The defendants are being held in the Hudson County Jail with bail set at $175,000 for Perez-Nunez and $300,000 each for Guerrero-Estrada and Flores-Santos.
– Karen Zautyk