Operation Snow Bank Nets More than $100,000 Worth of Drugs

Plainfield, NJ – The New Jersey State Police have arrested 36 suspects of three rival drug trafficking organizations operating out of the City of Plainfield, including five alleged MS-13 gang members, and seized more than 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, more than two ounces of heroin, marijuana, and more than $35,000 cash.

The eight-month cooperative investigation dubbed, “Operation Snow Bank,” began in December of 2016 and targeted cocaine trafficking organizations operating within the City of Plainfield.  The effort was led by the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Central Unit, Plainfield Police Division, and Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Division of Criminal Justice, FBI Newark Office, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FBI Somerset Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, New Brunswick Police Department, Perth Amboy Police Department, HSI Virginia Office, Stafford County, V.A. Sheriff’s Office, and the New York City Police Department.

Detectives allege that the three rival drug trafficking networks were headed by Andres Hernandez-Diaz, 46, Julian Mirambeaux-Olivarez, 46, and Manuel Castillo-Concepcion, 37, all of Plainfield, N.J.

Andres Hernandez-Diaz allegedly coordinated cocaine distribution from the Bronx, N.Y. directly into the City of Plainfield.  Members of the trafficking network would use an apartment in New York City to prepare and package cocaine specifically for distribution into Plainfield, which at one time resulted in more than 2,000 grams distributed in one month.

On July 11, the State Police Trafficking Central Unit and U.S. HSI members received information that David Zapata-Gaitan, 34, of Plainfield, NJ, an alleged member of the MS-13 Street Gang and member of the Hernandez-Diaz network, would be trafficking cocaine from Plainfield to Stafford County, Virginia.  With assistance from HSI and the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, Zapata-Gaitan, Luis Camino, 35, of Elizabeth, NJ, and Maribel Zamudio, 27, of North Plainfield, NJ, were arrested and half of a kilogram of cocaine was seized.

Julian Mirambeaux-Olivarez allegedly operated his network within the City of Plainfield using “runners” for distribution. During the investigation, detectives seized more than 900 grams of cocaine from the Mirambeaux-Olivarez network as well as more than 50 grams of raw heroin, and fictitious documents such as driver’s licenses and social security cards.

Detectives allege that Manuel Castillo-Concepcion operated his network day and night out of a residence on Arlington Avenue in Plainfield, which distributed more 2,200 grams of cocaine in a one-month stretch.

On Friday, July 21, Monday, July 24, and Thursday, July 27, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Unit, Plainfield Police Division, Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Brunswick Police Department executed search warrants at various locations in Plainfield. As a result, detectives arrested 36 people and seized drugs and cash.

“Operation Snow Bank was a multi-pronged attack on drug trafficking in Plainfield that targeted three rival networks – including MS-13 gang members – responsible for distributing heroin and cocaine,” said Attorney General Christopher Porrino. “By collaborating across all levels of law enforcement, we tripled our impact in stemming the supply of these corrosive drugs and the violence that accompanies these rivalries.”

“I commend the members of our Trafficking Central Unit and our law enforcement partners for their efforts that ultimately led to the dismantling of several drug organizations and disrupted the flow of cocaine and heroin coming into our neighborhoods.” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We will continue to target these drug trafficking operations and seek out the criminals that profit from the illicit drug trade that infects communities with violence and misery.”

“We will continue to work cooperatively in proactive investigations that target the entire hierarchies of these drug syndicates, from the leaders down to the street-level dealers,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This sweep will disrupt these criminal organizations in a way we could not achieve with isolated arrests.”

“This investigation is a culmination of an extensive joint law enforcement effort to dismantle criminal enterprises and violent transnational gangs that threaten the safety and security of the law-abiding public,” said Debra Parker, acting special agent in charge of HSI Newark. “HSI will
continue to pursue complex criminal investigations while using our unique statutory authorities to prevent and deter criminal organizations pushing drugs into our communities.”

“A lot of hard work went into this operation,” said Director Carl Riley of the Plainfield Department of Public Safety and Police Division. “My team is extremely thankful for our State, Local, and Federal law enforcement partnerships that continue to help us rid our streets of illegal narcotics and gang related activity. I look forward to our continued collaboration.”

This case is being prosecuted by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

Charges are mere accusations, and the suspects are consider innocent until proven guilty.