NEWARK, NJ — Four New Jersey men were charged for their alleged roles in drug-trafficking and money-laundering conspiracies, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Aug. 11.
William Panzera, 49, of North Haledon; Thomas Padovano, 48, and Bartholomew Padovano, 71, both of Newark; and Sean Tighe, 46, of Kearny, are each charged in a second superseding indictment with one count of drug-trafficking conspiracy and one count of international promotional money-laundering conspiracy. Thomas and Bartholomew Padovano are also charged with domestic concealment money-laundering conspiracy.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, since at least 2014, the defendants and others imported and distributed various controlled substances and controlled substance analogs, including ketamine, ethylone, multiple fentanyl analogs and synthetic cathinones, also known as bath salts. The drug-trafficking organization members allegedly ordered the drugs from sources in China, then stored and distributed the controlled substances from a trailer on Delancey Street in Newark. They also allegedly procured one or more pill presses and pressed the fentanyl analogs into small blue pills that were designed to resemble a commercial opioid pill and were marketed as such. These pills contained various amounts of fentanyl analogs and resulted in at least three overdoses between 2016 and 2020.
The defendants allegedly paid for the drugs they imported by sending, or recruiting others to send, international wire payments to the Chinese sources of supply.
To conceal and disguise the nature and source of the illicit narcotics proceeds, Thomas and Bartholomew Padovano allegedly made numerous cash deposits into various personal and business accounts. Both the international wire payments, as well as the cash deposits, were structured in a manner to avoid suspicion.
The charges and allegations contained in the second superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proved guilty.