International drug operation busted in Monmouth Co.

A multi-million dollar drug and money-laundering operation based out of Monmouth County was busted Monday.

Authorities say the international drug operation was run out of a mansion on Taylors Mills Road in Manalapan. They say the owner, Vicente Esteves, was the leader and his wife, Chantal, ran the phones. According to investigators, the illegal enterprise distributed more than 26,000 pounds of cocaine and took in more than $52 million a year. Prosecutors say the couple used the money to support their lavish lifestyle.

Five others from Middlesex County were also arrested in the 14-month investigation, dubbed ?Operation Unbounded.? Those five suspects were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs.

Some of the defendants, including the Esteves couple, were also charged with money laundering.

Authorities are in the process of seizing the Esteves? property. If convicted of the drug charge, the husband and wife could each face 10 years in prison. The money laundering charges carry up to a 20-year sentence.

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