New Jersey Man Sentenced to Six-Years in Federal Prison for Role in Heroin Ring
A Pennsauken, New Jersey resident was sentenced earlier this week for his role in a Philadelphia area heroin ring in 2005 and 2006. The heroin sold by Castellar and his associates was laced with a powerful painkiller, fentanyl, which caused over 100 deaths in the Philadelphia region due to overdose. The operation was run out of a rented house in Pennsauken. Castellar admitted to selling the spiked heroin in bulk to dealers, as well as in smaller quantities to drug users and addicts. Castellar and his six associates came to the attention of authorities in 2006, when a naked man was spotted running from the rented home in Pennsauken screaming about gunmen invading the property; heroin-mill workers are typically forced to work in the nude to prevent stealing of the product.
The prosecution could not prove that Castellar’s ring was responsible for all of the laced heroin produced and sold during the two-year span, however showed that fentanyl related deaths declined sharply following his arrest in 2006. Castellar has been imprisoned since his arrest and pled guilty to conspiring to distribute over 100 grams of heroin in April 2007. He was sentenced this week to six-years in a federal prison, followed by five-years of probation following his release.
Possession of a controlled substance is a crime which carries many harsh penalties. Depending on the quantity of controlled substance you are found to possess, you may even be charged with intent to deliver or drug trafficking. Such charges carry even greater penalties. In Pennsylvania, possessing over fifty grams of heroin with intent to traffic carries a minimum penalty of 5 year in prison for a first offense, and 7 years for subsequent offenses. A person may also be charged federally, as in the case above, which carries federally mandated minimum sentences to be served in federal prison.
Drug offenses are serious matters which involve serious penalties. If you have been charged with a drug offense, there are many defenses which may be available, including challenging the constitutionality of a police search. Contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately, so that your situation can be assessed and a defense to your charges can be developed.