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MONDAY, MAY 9, 2011

BOSTON, Mass. - A Lawrence man was sentenced today in federal court for selling crack cocaine.

HANSEL ZAPATA, 27, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor to three years and eight months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to distributing crack cocaine on February 11, 2011.

At the earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that on March 31, 2009, an informant working with the DEA arranged with a third person to buy an ounce of crack cocaine. The third person said he would call his connection. A few hours later, ZAPATA arrived and entered a car with the informant. Inside the car, ZAPATA delivered an ounce of crack cocaine and collected the payment for the drugs.

ZAPATA was arrested in connection with a larger investigation into gang-related drug and gun trafficking in Fitchburg. The investigation resulted in 10 federal indictments and more than a dozen state prosecutions.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Office made the announcement today. The case was investigated by the DEA HIDTA Task Force, which includes agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Massachusetts State Police and the Worcester Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hennessy of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office.


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