Atlantic County Men Charged in Heroin Conspiracy

CAMDEN, N.J. – Two Atlantic County men have been charged with conspiring to distribute heroin, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Ricardo Clavijo, 39, of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, and Christopher Gonzalez, 37, of Pleasantville, New Jersey, were each charged by complaint on July 13, 2021, with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over one kilogram of heroin. Both defendants appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio and were detained without bail.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On July 12, 2021, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and officers from other law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at an Egg Harbor Township residence. They encountered Clavijo at the front door and Gonzalez in the basement. In the basement of the residence, law enforcement officers discovered five kilogram-sized packages of suspected fentanyl, eight kilogram-sized packages of suspected fentanyl or cocaine, two kilogram-sized packages of suspected heroin, tens of thousands of pre-packaged individual doses of suspected heroin, additional narcotics packaging materials and paraphernalia, and an electronic money counter. Agents also found a .45 caliber handgun, a loaded magazine for the handgun, and a 9mm 50-round drum magazine.

The conspiracy count is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and a fine of $10 million, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the DEA’s Newark Division and the DEA Atlantic County HIDTA Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner, and the Egg Harbor Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael A. Steinman, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Johns of the Criminal Division in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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