Essex County Lawyer Admits Smuggling Marijuana into Federal Pretrial Detention Facility
TRENTON, NJ—An attorney from Maplewood, New Jersey, today admitted his involvement in a scheme to smuggle contraband, including marijuana and tobacco, into the Essex County Jail, a federal pretrial detention facility, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Brian Kapalin, 67, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into a federal detention facility.
According to the documents filed in this case and other cases and statements made in court:
From September 2013 to May 2014, Kapalin accepted packages of contraband containing marijuana and tobacco from Vladimir Sauzereseteo, 40, of East Orange, New Jersey. In exchange for cash payments from Sauzereseteo, Kapalin agreed to smuggle the contraband to federal pretrial detainees at the Essex County Jail, including Sauzereseteo’s brother, Muhammad Subpunallah, 32.
In January 2014 Subpunallah gave Kapalin $500 to deliver a package of marijuana to another inmate. Kapalin met with the inmate at the jail’s attorney conference room and gave him the contraband. Kapalin admitted delivering multiple packages of marijuana to a third inmate at the Essex County Jail between August 2013 and May 2014 in return for $500 per package.
The conspiracy charge to which Kapalin pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for March 18, 2015.
Sauzereseteo previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to smuggle contraband into a federal detention facility and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 4, 2014. Charges against Subpunallah are still pending and he is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, and investigators with the Internal Affairs Division of Essex County Jail, under the leadership of Warden Roy Hendricks, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division and Rob Frazer of the Criminal Division, Organized Crime/Gangs Unit, in Newark.