Leader of Cocaine Ring Sentenced to 17 1/2 Years in Prison

September 6, 2012

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Nestor Vladimir Sandoval Roca, a/k/a William Zapatero, age 36, a citizen of El Salvador residing in College Park, Maryland, today to 210 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute powder and crack cocaine, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and unauthorized reentry of a deported alien after conviction for an aggravated felony. Judge Titus enhanced Sandoval’s sentence upon finding that Sandoval was a leader of the drug organization and had been previously deported after being convicted of a crime of violence. Sandoval had previously been deported in 1996, 1998, and 2004, after convictions for battery, theft, and illegal reentry of a deported alien, respectively. Sandoval illegally reentered the United States a fourth time prior to July 2009.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Timothy P. Groh of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to Sandoval’s guilty plea, from July 2009 to August 2010, law enforcement made at least 12 controlled purchases of crack cocaine from Sandoval, the majority of which were in the amount of 62 grams each. Further investigation revealed the methods and means of Sandoval’s supply and distribution network. Sandoval made at least ten trips to Houston, Texas during the course of this investigation and received two or more kilograms of cocaine on each occasion. Sandoval and others converted a portion of the cocaine into crack cocaine.

On May 27, 2010, Sandoval sold an automatic rifle with no serial number to a confidential informant, along with 69.1 grams of crack cocaine.

On August 16, 2010, law enforcement stopped and arrested Sandoval as he traveled from Houston to Maryland, and seized approximately two kilograms of cocaine from his vehicle. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Sandoval’s home on August 17, 2010 and seized a semi-automatic handgun. Sandoval had previously been convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing a gun.

Sandoval was responsible for distributing at least 840 grams of crack cocaine and at least 20 kilograms of powder cocaine.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI and HSI Baltimore for their work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Christen A. Sproule, who prosecuted the case.

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