EDGEWATER, N.J. -- A pair of Edgewater drug dealers had $732,124 in cash in their apartment along with more than 10 ounces of the designer opioid furanyl fentanyl, an indictment returned Thursday charges.
Jose Colon-Lora, 33, and Jorge Rivera, 26, "were making huge profits by peddling a highly addictive and deadly analog of fentanyl,” Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said.
That stopped after members of the New Jersey State Police Violent and Organized Crime Control North Bureau, Trafficking North Unit, raided their Alexander Way residence last July, he said.
With the help of a drug detection dog, troopers found the furanyl fentanyl in several bags in a master bedroom closet, Porrino said.
In that closet and another, they found the cash in various suitcases and bags, "along with equipment and materials for packaging drugs and money," the attorney general said.
Fentanyl -- which Porrino said is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin -- was linked to 417 overdose deaths in New Jersey in 2015, up from 142 deaths in 2014 and 46 in 2013.
Last September, Porrino issued an emergency order adding furanyl fentanyl and six other illegal synthetic versions of fentanyl to the list of Schedule 1 Controlled Dangerous Substances in New Jersey, making them subject to the strictest level of state control.
"While furanyl fentanyl was not a scheduled drug at the time the defendants were arrested, they can be charged under New Jersey law based on the fact that it is an analog of fentanyl, which already was a scheduled CDS," the attorney general said.
Colon-Lora and Rivera were charged conspiracy, money laundering and possession of furanyl fentanyl with the intent to distribute the drug, among other counts.
A third defendant, 37-year-old Pedro Santiago-Agramonte of New York City, was charged with conspiracy.
Deputy Attorney General Jamie Picard presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.