Three men arrested three years ago for running an alleged cocaine packaging operation out of a garage in East Railway Avenue were found guilty of cocaine distribution and possession Tuesday, according to Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes.
Harold Fermin, Ismael Peralta, and Michael Almonte, all of Paterson, were found guilty in a jury trial before New Jersey Superior Court Judge Scott J. Bennion.
The three men were found guilty of first-degree cocaine possession with intent to distribute and second-degree conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. Fermin and Peralta were additionally found guilty of third-degree hindering apprehension.
Authorities charged the three men on various drug offenses in a raid at 24 East Railway Avenue on September 29, 2012. Passaic County Sheriff’s Office detectives executed a search warrant at the one-car garage that was advertised as a car alarm and stereo shop.
Detectives witnessed Fermin and Peralta dump cocaine in a water bucket during the raid.
Detectives recovered 6.767 ounces of cocaine, cocaine press machine, hundreds of empty baggies, baking soda, two scales, and a police scanner.
The trio face lengthy prison sentences. Possession of five ounces of cocaine carries a maximum 20-year prison term. Conspiracy to possess over five ounces has a maximum 10-year term.
Possession of cocaine carries a maximum five-year term. Hindering has a five-year maximum prison sentence, authorities said.