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N.J. Mayor Again Implicated

February 10, 2000

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Another convicted drug dealer has testified that Mayor Milton Milan was involved in the city’s illegal drug trade before he was elected in 1997.

The allegations emerged in the drug conspiracy trial of two men accused of running the largest cocaine ring in Camden history before it was toppled in 1998.

Milan, 37, a first-term Democrat and the city’s first Latino mayor, is not charged in the case and has not been accused of any wrongdoing. He has denied any involvement in the drug trade.

``It’s just ridiculous,″ Milan said Wednesday. ``I really don’t care what they have to say. I think you have a lot of character assassination.″

Saul Febo said he was a ``trapper″ for a year for Milan and others, selling bundles of cocaine in exchange for a portion of the profits. He said Milan sold drugs in the mid-1980s.

In earlier testimony Wednesday, another convicted drug dealer, Ernesto Padilla, also said Milan sold cocaine around 1987 or 1988.

Last week at the trail, drug dealer Wilson Torres was the first to testify that Milan sold cocaine _ $20 bags in the ’80s. Two other dealers, Lucas Torres and Camildo Cruz, have said that Milan purchased kilo quantities of cocaine at least twice in 1993.

Jose ``J.R.″ Rivera, 40, and Luis ``Tun Tun″ Figueroa, 34, are among 14 people charged with operating the ring that prosecutors say once controlled Camden’s drug market. The 12 others have pleaded guilty.

If convicted, Rivera and Figueroa face life in prison.

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