Pedro Quezada, father of five and a native of the Dominican Republic, is the sole winner of the $338.3 million Powerball jackpot!
44-year-old Pedro Quezada, of Passaic, N.J., claimed the the fourth-biggest prize in Powerball history, with 175-million-to-1 odds when he bought the winning ticket Saturday at Eagle Liquors. Using the Quick Pick option, he hit all five numbers and the Powerball.
“I can’t believe it. I’m overwhelmed,” Pedro Quezada said yesterday “I just can’t get over it.”
“I’m going to help a lot of people, whatever they need,” he says.
Pedro is an immigrant father who came to America 26 years ago, worked in a factory until 2006 and then opened his own bodega, near the liquor store were he bought the golden ticket. His bodega, which is run by Quezada’s 23-year-old son Casiano, don’t sell lottery tickets because he never applied for a license, but he regularly bought them at Eagle Liquors in Passaic, owned by Sumil Sethi.
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“For the last three years, he would come here every day between 7:30 and 8 p.m. to buy Lotto tickets and two or three bottles of [Corona] beer,’’ said Felix Ramirez, an employee at Eagle Liquors.
Quezada did not know he had the winning ticket, until he came into the store after 4:00 p.m and saw he won the $338 million jackpot. Officials confirmed the ticket was the only winner in the 42 states that offer Powerball.
“I just learned right now, right now. Ay, Dios!” a shaking and smiling Quezada said in Spanish to reporters.
Quezada immediately called his wife:
“I’m the millionaire, Ines, put on the TV so you can see me, or come down to the liquor store right now”.
Eagle Liquors lottery ticket salesman Pravin Mankodia believes God blessed him with a “lucky hand”. He validated the $338 million ticket he had sold to Quezada Saturday night.
In the picture below, Pravin Mankodia showing the Powerball tickets at his store yesterday.
“I was praying so much for this,” said Quezada, who lives “I’m just giving thanks to God.”
Quezada is married to his wife of 10 years, Ines Sanchez, and they have five children together: three daughters, 5, 17 and 10, and two sons, a 15-year-old and 23-year-old Casiano. They live in a rundown third-floor apartment on a dead-end block next to a highway, and had been struggling with debt for years. Ines said the ticket was an answer to their prayers:
“We’re hardworking people,” she said at their home. “We always struggled.”
After Pedro realized he had the winning ticket, he called his mother and shouted:
“We won! We won! We’re not gonna be poor anymore!”
Quezada’s lump sum payout will end up being $211 million or $152 million after state and federal taxes, New Jersey Lottery Executive Director Carole Hedinger said Monday.