ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. – A drug trafficking ring member from Elmwood Park admitted Wednesday that he bought nearly seven pounds of heroin that made its way from Paterson to street-level buyers in Bergen, Passaic, Rockland and other counties.
Edwin Lopez, 31 – also known as “E” and “Pan” – was one of five men charged by federal authorities a year ago with moving large amounts of heroin from the Bronx to Paterson.
He’s the first to accept a plea deal from the government, which could affect how the cases against his four co-defendants unfold.
They include Joseph Trimarco of Stony Point, who federal authorities said trafficked the heroin into Rockland County.
Lopez told a federal judge in Newark on Wednesday that Juan Pablo Goris-Castellano of the Bronx packaged and distributed the heroin to him through Carolina Almonte and Alvarez Martinez, also of the NYC borough.
He then sold the drugs to Charlie Rodriguez, who worked closely with Reinaldo Rodriguez, both of Paterson, he said.
Lopez admitted he participated in the conspiracy from June 2015 until his arrest last April 19.
At the time, he said, he was giving a $13,500 payment to one of Goris-Castellano’s couriers in exchange for 150 bricks of heroin.
Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.
Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Fitzpatrick’s office.
U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton scheduled a July 11 sentencing for Lopez on his plea to a single count of conspiring to possess more than a kilo of heroin with the intent to distribute it.