TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Spring Valley, N.Y., man was sentenced to state prison in connection with 24 kilograms of cocaine that the New Jersey State Police seized from his car on Route 287 last year.
Beningo Gomez-Morales, 24, of Spring Valley, N.Y., was sentenced to 10 years in state prison, including 3 ½ years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Robert J. Gilson in Morris County. He pleaded guilty on May 14 to a charge of first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
His girlfriend, Eridania Batista DeLeon, 31, of Spring Valley, who was a passenger in the car when the cocaine was seized, was admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. She was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She pleaded guilty on May 14 to third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution.
Deputy Attorney General Amy Sieminski prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
On September 7, 2013, state troopers stopped a Subaru Tribeca driven by Gomez-Morales after it merged from Route 80 East onto Route 287 North, nearly striking a limousine. The stop was made during surveillance related to an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Drug Trafficking North Unit, which had received information that the vehicle was being used to transport narcotics through New Jersey. After the two occupants gave conflicting information about where their trip began, detectives requested and received consent to search the vehicle.
Upon opening the rear door of the vehicle, they noticed a hidden compartment under the back seats, which was partially open, revealing packaging material. They asked Gomez-Morales to open the trap, which he did, and the detectives found 24 kilograms of packaged cocaine. Gomez-Morales admitted he had been paid $15,000 to transport the narcotics from California to New York.