Public Notices and Press Releases

NJ Man Guilty of Fentanyl Distribution and Money Laundering

Sean Tighe admits involvement in a sophisticated drug importation scheme spanning six years, with sentencing set for November 2024.

Newark, NJ – In a significant development in the fight against the opioid crisis, Sean Tighe, a 48-year-old resident of Kearny, New Jersey, entered a guilty plea for his role in a major drug trafficking organization. The plea, made before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton, addresses charges of drug trafficking conspiracy and international promotional money laundering conspiracy, shedding light on the complex networks fueling the distribution of deadly drugs in the United States.

Tighe's admission in Newark federal court revealed his participation in a scheme that involved the importation and distribution of hundreds of kilograms of fentanyl analogs, synthetic cathinone (commonly known as "bath salts"), and ketamine from March 2014 through September 2020. This operation, with connections reaching China, highlights the global scale of the drug trade and the challenges faced by law enforcement in stemming the tide of these substances into New Jersey communities.

The guilty plea outlines how Tighe and his co-conspirators collaborated with suppliers in China to import controlled substances and analogs for distribution within New Jersey. Notably, Tighe acknowledged his role in converting these substances into pill form for easier distribution, as well as his involvement in facilitating financial transactions to pay for these drugs, including transferring at least $14,000 to China over three months in 2014.

The charges carry significant penalties, with the drug trafficking conspiracy count subject to a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, up to a life sentence, and a $10 million fine. The money laundering charge could result in up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Tighe's sentencing is scheduled for November 19, 2024, a date that marks the next phase in a case that underscores the serious legal consequences for those involved in the narcotics trade and financial crimes related to drug distribution.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger commended the collaborative effort of Homeland Security Investigations Newark and other federal and local agencies, including HSI Philadelphia, the FBI – Newark Division, and the Newark Police Department, for their roles in bringing Tighe to justice. This case is part of the broader Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation, an initiative designed to dismantle the most significant criminal organizations threatening the United States through a multi-agency approach.

As the legal process moves forward, this case serves as a critical reminder of the ongoing battle against drug trafficking organizations and the importance of interagency cooperation in protecting communities from the devastating impact of opioid and synthetic drug abuse.

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