New Brunswick Man Pleads Guilty To Drug-Related Charges In Township

Joel Matos-Santiago, far right, pleaded guilty to drug-related charges stemming from his October 2015 arrest with Victor Santana-Ricardo and Jessica Rodriguez, left to right. Photo: Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

A New Brunswick man has pleaded guilty to drug-related charges stemming from a 2015 arrest in the township.

Elvin Guzman-Rodriguez, a.k.a. Joel Matos-Santiago, 38, pleaded guilty to 1st Degree possession of five ounces or more of cocaine with intent to distribute and 2nd Degree eluding, according to a press release from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors recommended a sentence of 11 years in the New Jersey State Prison with 40 months of parole ineligibility, according to the release.

Matos-Santiago was arrested Oct. 8, 2015 with Jessica Rodriguez of Somerset and Victor M. Santana-Ricardo of New Brunswick.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received a tip that a package containing drugs would be delivered to Jessica Rodriguez’s township home, according to a press release about the arrests. Two packages were intercepted at the Franklin Township Post Office, and an exterior check by a drug-sniffing dog revealed them to be holding drugs, according to the release.

Task Force detectives set up surveillance near the home and allegedly saw Santana-Ricardo and Matos-Santiago standing outside the residence, according to the release. When a postal employee arrived with the packages, Matos-Santiago left the area in a black Acura TSX.

Santana-Ricardo told the postal officer that he was Rodriguez’s husband, and that he could leave the packages on the doorstep, the release said.

Santana-Ricardo was then seen on his cell phone, according to the release, and a short time later, Matos-Santiago returned. Matos-Santiago grabbed the packages, put them in his car and left the area “at a high rate of speed,” according to the release.

Detectives tried to stop him, but Matos-Santiago eluded officers before crashing into a prosecutor’s office vehicle.

Matos-Santiago was arrested at the scene, and the packages containing the drugs were seized from his car after a search warrant was obtained, according to the release.

Santana-Ricardo and and Rodriguez were arrested at the township house.

The packages were found to contain five ounces of cocaine, with a street value of about $500,000, according to the release.

There was no information provided as to the disposition of the other two arrests.


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