A New York man pleaded guilty in court Wednesday to having 24 kilograms of cocaine in his car when he was stopped by New Jersey State Police in 2013.
Beningo Gomez-Morales, 24, was stopped in his Subaru Tribeca by state police when he merged from Rt. 80 to Rt. 287 on Sept. 7 and nearly struck a limousine, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.
Police had been tracking Gomez-Morales’s car after receiving information the vehicle was being used to transport narcotics through New Jersey, Hoffman said.
Gomez-Morales and his passenger, also his girlfriend, Eridania Batista DeLeon, 32, gave conflicting stories about where their trip began, and then consented to a search by police, Hoffman said.
Officers noticed a hidden compartment under the back seat of the vehicle, Hoffman said, which was partially open and revealed packaging material. Gomez-Morales opened the trap at the officer’s request, and detectives found 24 kilograms of packaged cocaine. The driver told police at the scene he had been paid $15,000 to transport the narcotics from California to New York, Hoffman said.
Upon pleading guilty to first-degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, the state is recommending Gomez-Morales be sentenced to 10 years in state prison with three and-a-half years of parole ineligibility.
DeLeon pleaded guilty to third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution. The state is recommending she be sentenced to probation. Both are scheduled for sentencing July 18.