FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County man admitted his role in trafficking guns from Florida and selling them here.
Enrique Quijada, 24, aka “El Enano 13,” aka “Kike,” of Freehold, pleaded guilty to 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.
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 court of distribution of cocaine carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $1 million fine. Quijada’s sentencing is scheduled for April 5, 2022.
Police said that 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 they were then sold illegally.
The FBI had people working with them to purchase guns and drugs from members of the conspiracy as part of the investigation.
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.
Acting U.S. Attorney 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 today’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, New Jersey, police department for their assistance in the investigation.
Police said that gun trace data shows that a significant number of firearms recovered in the New York/northern New Jersey area originate from outside the area. Strike forces like the one that brought down this ring are needed in curtailing the illegal sales of weapons.
Charges are merely accusations until proven in a court of law.