News Release
For Immediate Release:
September 14, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Leader of Massive Drug Conspiracy Sentenced To 272 Months 

SEP 14, 2009 -- (Boston, MA) - A Lawrence man was sentenced today in federal court for conspiring to distribute dozens of kilograms of cocaine in New England.

Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Division, Acting United States Attorney Michael K. Loucks, Colonel Mark F. Delaney,

Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police and Chief John J. Romero of the Lawrence Police Department, announced today that JOSE PORTORREAL, age 31, of Lawrence, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 272 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. PORTORREAL pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine on November 25, 2008.

At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Woodlock found that PORTORREAL was responsible for conspiring to distribute approximately 46 kilograms of cocaine plus a small amount of marijuana. The street value of this quantity of drugs easily exceeds $1 million. At the hearing, the Government presented evidence that for two years, PORTORREAL regularly sent couriers across the country to retrieve as many as 6 kilograms of cocaine at a time, which PORTORREAL would then distribute to customers in New England. In addition, Judge Woodlock found that PORTORREAL was an organizer and leader of an extensive criminal activity that involved five or more participants. Indeed, the Government introduced evidence that PORTORREAL supervised approximately 10 couriers, some of whom made cross-country trips to pick up cocaine and others of whom delivered the cocaine to customers in New England. Judge Woodlock also found that PORTORREAL flagrantly lied under oath when he took the witness stand during the sentencing hearing to testify in his own defense. PORTORREAL falsely denied his involvement in directing couriers and importing cocaine into Massachusetts.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Cross Border Initiative Task Force, which includes members of various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; the Massachusetts State Police; the Lawrence Police Department; and the Londonderry (N.H.) Police Department.