July 19, 2023
TRENTON, N.J. – A Raleigh, North Carolina, man with ties to Trenton was sentenced to 12.5 Years (151 months) in prison for distributing heroin and unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Dennis Cheston Jr., aka “Beans,” 42, previously pleaded guilty before former Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to two counts of an indictment charging him with distributing heroin and unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Following Judge Wolfson’s retirement, the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Georgette Castner, who imposed the sentence on July 18, 2023, in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From October 2017 to October 2018, law enforcement investigated a large narcotics conspiracy that operated in Trenton and elsewhere. Conspirators Jakir Taylor, aka “Jak,” and Jerome Roberts, aka “Righteous,” obtained regular supplies of hundreds of bricks of heroin from conspirator David Antonio, aka “Papi,” which Taylor, Roberts, and their conspirators then redistributed for profit in Trenton and elsewhere.
On multiple occasions, Cheston – a convicted felon with ties to the Trenton area – traveled from North Carolina to Trenton and obtained quantities of heroin from Taylor for redistribution. During one intercepted telephone call between Taylor and Cheston, Cheston advised Taylor that the heroin bearing an ink stamp that read “Top Secret” was of high quality and that Cheston’s customers in North Carolina liked it. During the course of these drug transactions, Cheston agreed to travel from North Carolina to Trenton to supply Taylor with multiple firearms in exchange for future supplies of heroin. Cheston had previously brought multiple firearms from North Carolina to New Jersey, but had provided them to other individuals instead of Taylor. In an Aug. 25, 2018, intercepted call however, Cheston promised to bring all future guns to Taylor first. On Sept. 8, 2018, law enforcement tracked Cheston as he traveled from North Carolina to Trenton. Shortly after his arrival, law enforcement officers arrested Cheston as he exited the Trenton Transit Center. During a subsequent search of Cheston’s backpack, law enforcement recovered a 9-millimeter Smith & Wesson handgun – one of the guns that Cheston had agreed to provide to Taylor over the wiretap.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Castner sentenced Cheston to three years of supervised release. Taylor and Antonio previously pleaded guilty and Roberts was previously convicted at trial.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Steve Wilson; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jonathan Bucchere; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief Albert Rhodes; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of chief John Fine; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the New Jersey State Board of Parole for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf.
Defense Counsel: Jacqueline E. Cistaro Esq., New York