Atlantic County Men Charged in Heroin Conspiracy
CAMDEN, N.J. – Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division Susan A. Gibson, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner, and Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Rachael A. Honig announced two Atlantic County men have been charged with conspiring to distribute heroin.
Ricardo Clavijo, 39, of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, and Christopher Gonzalez, 37, of Pleasantville, New Jersey, were each charged by complaint on July 13, 2021, with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over one kilogram of heroin. Both defendants appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio and were detained without bail.
On July 12, 2021, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and officers from other law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at an Egg Harbor Township residence. They encountered Clavijo at the front door and Gonzalez in the basement. In the basement of the residence, law enforcement officers discovered five kilogram-sized packages of suspected fentanyl, eight kilogram-sized packages of suspected fentanyl or cocaine, two kilogram-sized packages of suspected heroin, tens of thousands of pre-packaged individual doses of suspected heroin, additional narcotics packaging materials and paraphernalia, and an electronic money counter. Agents also found a .45 caliber handgun, a loaded magazine for the handgun, and a 9mm 50-round drum magazine.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of the members of the DEA Atlantic County HIDTA Task Force,” said Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division. “The large quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine seized have prevented an untold amount of potential fatal overdoses in the Atlantic County region. A drug seizure of this size has made the area safer, and we will continue to dismantle and disrupt these criminal organizations.”
“I want to thank all of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners for their diligence and hard work that resulted in the arrests and seizure of several millions of dollars of drugs. I want to thank them for the lives they saved and the violence they disrupted by seeing this case through. This is further proof that our detectives are working day and night to make our county safer. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner.
The conspiracy count is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a fine of $10 million, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the DEA’s Newark Division and the DEA Atlantic County HIDTA Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner, and the Egg Harbor Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael A. Steinman, for their assistance.