Defendants Convicted On Drug Charges In Connection With Largest Ever Cocaine
Seizure In Massachusetts History
Boston, MA . A six week jury trial in federal court ended today when a jury convicted four defendants on federal drug and bribery charges and the seizure of a 260 kilogram shipment of cocaine-the largest ever seized in Massachusetts history.
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, Steven J. Farquharson, District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New England; Colonel Thomas J. Foley, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Michael Healy, Chief of the Westport Police Department; John M. Sousa, Chief of the Fall River Police Department; Arthur J. Kelly, Chief of the New Bedford Police Department; announced today the conviction of RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA, age 27, formerly of 20 LePire Avenue, Westport, Massachusetts; WILFREDO PEREZ, age 35, formerly of 504 Quincy Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts; NERYS CABRERA, age 48, formerly of 2075 Walton Avenue, Bronx, New York; and WILLIAM OLIVERO, age 25, formerly of 2075 Walton Avenue, Bronx, New York.
The jury convicted all four defendants of conspiring to distribute cocaine, and specifically found that RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA was guilty of conspiring to distribute in excess of 260 kilograms. YEJE-CABRERA was also convicted to paying $100,000 bribe to an INS agent in an attempt to get out of INS custody and to protect his drug trafficking organization. The jury also convicted YEJE-CABRERA of attempting to possess 260 kilograms of cocaine with the intent to distribute it.
The jury also forfeited to the government $5.2 million in drug proceeds, as well as two pieces of property. The Jury found that the money and the property were proceeds of the narcotics distribution organization.
Of the 21 individuals originally indicted on December 21, 2001, fifteen have previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. One defendant is scheduled for trial on March 3, 2002.
The evidence at trial showed that YEJE-CABRERA and his partners, including his mother, father, two uncles, a brother and a cousin, received four or five truckloads of cocaine and marijuana from a supplier in Arizona. The cocaine was distributed from July 2000 through December 21, 2001, in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Atlanta. The evidence also showed that the last truckload, which was seized by the Massachusetts State Police on December 8, 2001, contained 260 kilograms of cocaine. Law enforcement agents were able to track the truck from New York to New Bedford, Massachusetts based on conversations intercepted pursuant to court-authorized wiretaps of five of the organizations telephones. That seizure of cocaine-with a street value estimated at 20.6 million was the largest seizure of cocaine in Massachusetts history.
The defendants will be sentenced on February 26, 2002 at 2:00 pm. YEJE-CABRERA faces a prison sentence of 30 years to life; PEREZ faces a prison sentence of 20 years to life. CABRERA and OLIVERO each face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.