RNJ News Department

Trucker indicted for allegedly trafficking $2.8M in raw herion on I-78 in Warren County

GREENWICH TOWNSHIP, N.J. (Warren County) – A California truck driver who allegedly transported large quantities of heroin in his tractor-trailer was indicted for allegedly possessing 36 kilos of heroin that were seized in August by the New Jersey State Police on Interstate 78 in Warren County, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced on Wednesday.

Oscar Franco, 59, of Chula Vista, California, was indicted on Monday, December 12, on charges of first-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute and third-degree possession of heroin. He remains in the Warren County Jail with bail set at $200,000. Deputy Attorney Norma Garcia presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. The charges stem from an investigation by the State Police Transportation Safety Bureau, Mobile Safe Freight Unit -Tactical North.

“The 36 kilos of heroin seized from Franco’s tractor-trailer were worth more than $2 million in raw form and could have sold for more than $10 million once cut and packaged for the street,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Thanks to an alert state trooper, this major heroin supply line was cut off.”

“We charge that Franco was fueling addiction and supplying the violent drug trade on our streets by trafficking huge quantities of heroin into New Jersey,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Arresting major heroin traffickers is one of many ways that we’re combating the scourge of heroin and opiate addiction that is causing so much misery and death in our communities.”

“Franco’s cache of heroin amounted to more than 1.5 million individual doses never hitting the streets,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Based on the large quantity of heroin seized and the resulting disruption of a major narcotic supply line, Trooper Dolinsky in all likelihood saved a life or at the very least prevented someone from becoming an addict.”

Franco was arrested on August 14 by a member of the State Police Mobile Safe Freight Unit who stopped his tractor-trailer on Interstate 78 in Greenwich Township to conduct a routine commercial inspection. The trooper noticed significant irregularities in the driver’s bill of lading and logbook. In addition, Franco’s itinerary from San Diego, California, to New Jersey included unexplained detours that were not consistent with cost-effective travel. An interior inspection revealed various crushed and dust-covered boxes containing outdated items. A duffel bag was visible in one of the boxes. The trooper obtained consent to search the trailer and discovered two duffel bags allegedly holding roughly 36 kilos of heroin wrapped in black tape.

First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Attorney General Porrino commended Trooper Brian Dolinsky, who made the arrest and seizure for the State Police Transportation Safety Bureau, Mobile Safe Freight Unit -Tactical North.

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By: Jay Edwards
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(Photo Courtesy: New Jersey State Police)