Man pleads guilty to possessing over $10 million in heroin

The 12-kilo bust one of the largest in Orange County history


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Joaquin Ramos Hernandez, 34, of Fresno, Ca., pled guilty in County Court last week to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, a class A-I felony, for possessing over 12 kilograms of heroin.

Hernandez admitted knowing that he was transporting illegal narcotics. Under a plea agreement reached between the District Attorney’s Office and Hernandez, he will be sentenced to ten years in prison. Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced in Orange County Court on Sept. 9.

On April 16, Hernandez was a passenger in a tractor-trailer travelling eastbound on Interstate 84 in the Town of Wawayanda. The truck did not display proper state tax decals on the outside. After the truck was stopped by New York State Troopers, over 12 kilograms of heroin was discovered inside. That narcotics seizure was one of the largest in Orange County history.

Co-defendant Enrique Becerra Mendoza, the driver of the tractor-trailer, was scheduled to appear before Judge Berry right before press time. Mendoza has also been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

The value of a kilogram of heroin in Orange County is approximately $70,000. The twelve kilograms recovered from the truck have a total value of approximately $840,000. The street value of the heroin could be significantly higher. A one kilogram package of heroin generally yields 100,000 'decks' of heroin, wax paper packages that small amounts of heroin are sold in.

A typical deck contains .02 grams of heroin. The street value of each deck is $10. If sold in that manner, the cumulative street value of the heroin seized in the truck would be approximately 12 million dollars.

“I am acutely aware that this defendant was likely a courier, and our investigation into this case is ongoing,” District Attorney David M. Hoovler said. “Narcotics, and particularly heroin, are having a devastating impact on our communities and families. My office will continue to seek severe sanctions to anyone who aids in the sale and distribution of these dangerous substances. Heroin traffickers literally put other peoples’ lives at risk so they can make a profit.”

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