7 Denied Bail in Largest N.J. Drug Bust

Associated Press, Wire Services
June 7, 1991

Seven men, including one invited to a White House fund-raiser, were ordered held without bail Thursday on charges arising from the largest drug bust in New Jersey history.

The defendants, allegedly tied to the Cali drug cartel of Colombia, were arrested Friday following a four-month undercover operation.

Customs officials netted 4,700 pounds of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $58.2 million, and 7,000 pounds of marijuana, worth $11.2 million.

As part of his argument that businessman Eduardo Mantilla be granted bail, his attorney presented to the court a form letter from President Bush inviting the defendant to the White House.

Mantilla, of Plantation, Fla., also had a 1988 letter from former President Ronald Reagan, thanking him for contributions made to the Republican Party.

Attorney Patrick A. Mullin argued that the letters indicated Mantilla, former owner of a business that manufactured hot tubs, was an upstanding citizen who would be acquitted.

"They are not going to be sending out letters to a drug dealer," Mullin said. "You have President Bush inviting him to dinner next week at the White House. "

Said U.S. Magistrate G. Donald Haneke: "He's probably not going to be able to make it. "

He then ordered Mantilla held without bail.

Among the others arrested were two New Jersey men, Enidio Abreu, 42, of Teaneck and Julio Menendez, 29, of North Bergen.

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