Police Searching For New Milford Man In Connection With Large-Scale Marijuana Bust
North Bergen prosecutor, former law partner of the Fort Lee mayor also charged in alleged drug scheme.
Two Edgewater men imported as much as 1,000 pounds of marijuana into New Jersey from Northern California since the start of 2012, authorities said Saturday.
Matthew Martin, 43, and Danny Saleh, 34, made bulk purchases of marijuana in the "Emerald Triangle" of Northern California during bi-monthly trips, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said in a release.
The Emerald Triangle is perhaps the most fertile marijuana growing region in the country and supplies much of California's legal marijuana. The men would ship the drug back to New Jersey and Brooklyn via the post office, authorities said.
Authorities intercepted the last shipment from California, seizing boxes holding about 100 pounds of pot, Molinelli said. The marijuana, Molinelli said, has a street value of about $400,000.
Martin and Saleh would break the marijuana up and distribute it through associates, making enough money to afford a Rolls Royce, a Lamborghini, an Audi R8 and a Range Rover, which were seized, authorities said.
Also seized was $250,000 in cash.
Authorities searched the homes of Lee Aviles Jr., 34, of Cedar Road, and Richard Lozada, 37, of Old Bridge, who were identified as customers, Molinelli said. The searches resulted in the seizure of marijuana, two ounces of cocaine, a Maserati, a Mercedes-Benz and six handguns, including two that were stolen, the prosecutor said.
The release did not say which items were recovered in which house.
Aviles was not home at the time of the raid and remains at-large, the prosecutor said.
Also charged in the case was the now former law partner of the Mayor of Fort Lee. Authorities allege that Marcanton Macri, 44, is accused of "facilitating" a relationship between an assistant bank manager and Martin and Saleh to exchange smaller currency for $100 bills.