"While it has been spotlighted for killing Prince and other celebrities, fentanyl also is responsible for a growing death toll in New Jersey," says the release, "where there were 417 overdose deaths from fentanyl in 2015, and 394 overdose deaths from fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in just the first six months of 2016."
According to the release, Jesus Carrillo-Pineda, 31, Jesus Yanez-Martinez, 22, and Daniel Vasquez, 28 are charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl (2nd degree), possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute (2nd degree), and possession of fentanyl (3rd degree).
Yanez-Martinez and Vasquez are also individually charged with distribution of fentanyl (2nd degree). Carrillo-Pineda faces a charge of possession of heroin (3rd degree).
The indictment also charges Carrillo-Pineda and Omar Zeus Rodriguez, 38, in connection to a separate seizure in Willingboro of five fentanyl kilos, almost 40 kilos of heroin, and a smaller quantity of methamphetamine.
On Jun. 28, New Jersey State Police, along with members of the North Bergen Police Department, arrested the three men in a North Bergen parking lot.
Allegedly, the officers witnessed an alleged transfer of fentanyl from a tractor trailer occupied by Yanez-Martinez and Vasquez to a Mercedes Benz driven by Carrillo-Pineda.
The arrests seized 40 kilograms of fentanyl, allegedly wrapped and held in two black duffel bags, transferred to the Mercedes Benz's trunk.
Officers searching the Benz also allegedly found a handbag with $1,050 and a small quantity of heroin.
The kilos seized could have yielded over 18 million lethal doses, destroying the largest state record for a fentanyl seizure by law enforcement, the office said.
The first-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while the third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000, the release said.