ALBANY – Two New Jersey men have been indicted in connection with an alleged cocaine conspiracy in Schenectady County after an April traffic stop uncovered nine kilograms of cocaine, federal prosecutors said.
State police made the discovery in an April 2 traffic stop on Interstate 87 in Greene County, where the vehicle’s driver initially said he was traveling to Schenectady, authorities said.
Indicted were Richard “Richie” Sinde, 56, of Fort Lee, N.J., and Robert “Bobby” Ingrao, 74, of Lodi, N.J. They were each indicted on charges of conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and with possessing and intending to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
If convicted on the charges, they would face at least 10 years in prison and up to life, officials said.
The investigation began just before noon April 2 on Interstate 87 northbound in Greene County, according to allegations filed in court.
State police stopped Ingrao then for a window tint violation, according to the allegations in the criminal complaint. Ingrao allegedly relayed that he was en route from a muffler shop in New Jersey to Schenectady, to provide the vehicle to his friend.
The trooper soon determined Ingrao did not have a valid driver’s license in New Jersey and had a suspended license in New York, according to the allegations.
In preparing the vehicle to be towed, the trooper discovered a jacket with rolled-up $20 bills inside that had a white-powder residue, believed by the trooper to be cocaine. Ingrao then allegedly volunteered that he was worried about “the drugs,” according to the allegations.
A K-9 soon arrived then helped in the search of the vehicle and alerted to the trunk. Inside, troopers found a false compartment, or “trap,” that contained nine 1-kilogram packages that tested positive for cocaine, according to the allegations.
Ingrao was arrested then. He and Sinde were then indicted last month on the alleged conspiracy that lasted from March 29 to April 3 in Schenectady and Greene counties, officials said.
Sinde was arraigned Friday and released with conditions. Ingrao is to be arraigned later, officials said.
The case is being investigated by the DEA’s Capital District Drug Enforcement Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.