For Immediate Release
Essex County, New Jersey, Man Admits Illegally Possessing Firearm and Smuggling Marijuana Into Federal Pretrial Detention Facility
NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted illegally possessing a firearm and conspiring with others to smuggle contraband, including marijuana and tobacco, into a federal pretrial detention facility, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Muhammad Subpunallah, 33, of Orange, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to an indictment charging him with the illegal possession of a firearm and to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into the Essex County Correctional Facility, a federal pretrial detention facility. Subpunallah is being held without bail.
According to the documents filed in this case and other cases and statements made in court:
On Oct. 11, 2011, Subpunallah had a loaded .38 caliber Cobra firearm in his waistband while standing near Broad and Market streets in Newark. He had previously been convicted of robbery in Essex County Superior Court. After Subpunallah was arrested and detained on the illegal possession of a firearm, he engaged in a conspiracy to smuggle contraband into the Essex County Correctional Facility. From September 2013 to February 2014, Subpunallah directed a relative, Vladimir Sauzereseteo, to deliver contraband, including marijuana and tobacco, to Brian Kapalin, a New Jersey lawyer, who then smuggled the contraband into the Essex County Correctional Facility in exchange for a cash fee. Subpunallah sent inmates to the attorney visitor room to meet with Kapalin and retrieve the contraband.
In January 2014, Subpunallah spoke with Kapalin over a recorded correctional facility phone. Subpunallah asked Kapalin to deliver contraband to an inmate at the Essex County Correctional Facility. Sauzereseteo was then paid $1,650 via Western Union money transfers, which he used to purchase marijuana that he delivered to Kapalin, along with a cash payment for Kapalin’s service. A few days later, Kapalin met the inmate from the Essex County Correctional Facility in the attorney visitor room and he delivered the marijuana.
The charge for illegally possessing a firearm carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The charge for conspiring to provide contraband, including marijuana, to inmates at the Essex County Correctional Facility, carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Each charge also carries a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for July 20, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited officers with the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Director Eugene Venable and Chief Anthony Campos; special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George P. Belsky; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark: and investigators with the Internal Affairs Division of the Essex County Correctional Facility, under the leadership of Warden Roy Hendricks, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Tyler and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais of the Criminal Division, General Crimes Unit; Robert Frazer, of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit; and Rahul Agarwal of the Special Prosecutions Division, in Newark.