A Freehold man has admitted distributing cocaine in Monmouth County and conspiring to illegally sell firearms, including multiple handguns and a semi-automatic rifle, in and around Monmouth and Ocean counties, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced on Dec. 3.
Enrique Quijada, 24, also known as El Enano 13, and also known as Kike, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to a superseding information charging him with one count of conspiracy to engage in firearms trafficking, one count of possession of a firearm by an alien unlawfully present in the United States, and one count of distribution of cocaine, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from May 2020 through September 2020, Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria, Waldin Espinosa-Ozoria, Enrique Quijada, Javier Rodriguez-Valpais and Jacquelyn DeJesus were members of a gun trafficking conspiracy that spanned from Florida to New Jersey.
DeJesus allegedly assisted Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria – the alleged leader of the conspiracy – by acting as a “straw purchaser” of firearms in Florida.
Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria and DeJesus then transported the firearms from Florida to Monmouth County, where members of the conspiracy, including Quijada, sold the firearms to individuals working at the direction and supervision of the FBI.
Rodriguez-Valpais sold a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle to Quijada, who in turn sold the rifle to an individual working at the direction and supervision of the FBI. In addition to gun trafficking, Quijada admitted selling cocaine to an individual working at the direction and supervision of the FBI.
Three other members of the gun trafficking conspiracy – Javier Rodriguez-Valpais, Waldin Espinosa-Ozoria and Jacquelyn DeJesus – previously have pleaded guilty in connection with this case. The charges against Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria remain pending, according to the press release.
The count of conspiracy to engage in firearms trafficking carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The count of possession of a firearm by an alien unlawfully present in the United States carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The count of distribution of cocaine carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Quijada’s sentencing is scheduled for April 5, 2022.
Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., with the investigation leading to Quijada’s guilty plea. She also thanked the FBI Tampa Division, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark and Tampa Field Divisions, and the Freehold Borough Police Department for their assistance in the investigation, according to the press release.
For the defendant whose charges remain pending, the charges and allegations are accusations and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, according to the press release.