A drug dealer who used a hidden compartment in a vehicle to ship heroin to Union County from California has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.

William T. Bouza, 45, of Watchung, arranged for the drugs to be hidden in a “trap” on a Mercedes being transported to New Jersey on a car transporter in February 2019, federal officials said.

Bouza was in Union County picking up the drugs, but apparently sensed the presence of police and left the area, authorities said.

Authorities seized approximately 33 pounds of heroin hidden in the car.

Bouza continued to sell drugs in the months that followed, using hiding places as authorities monitored his phones and vehicles, officials said.

Federal law enforcement officers nearly arrested Bouza on Oct. 29, 2019, when he was seen leaving a location in Irvington carrying a large weighted bag, authorities said. Minutes later, when officers attempted to arrest him, Bouza ignored police lights and sirens, driving at 70 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to court documents.

Bouza threw drugs out of his car and escaped by abandoning the vehicle and fleeing on foot, authorities said. The police established a perimeter, but could not find Bouza. He was arrested on Nov. 5, 2019, at the home of an acquaintance in Newark, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said at the time.

Investigators then discovered more than 1,000 cartons of heroin, each containing approximately 50 individual doses, in one of Bouza’s hideouts. In total, law enforcement seized nearly 40 pounds of heroin.

He pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin.

In addition to the prison sentence, Bouza was fined $25,000 and will face five years of supervised release after his release. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced the penalty in a news release on Friday.

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Jeff Goldman can be reached at [email protected].