U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
December 22, 2o11
Two Sentenced to Federal Prison for Trafficking Nearly 300 Kilos of Marijuana
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two of three men arrested in March 2011by Pawtucket, R.I., Police and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for allegedly trafficking nearly 300 kilograms of marijuana valued at approximately $750,000 have been sentenced to federal prison. The men were arrested after the marijuana was discovered in a rental truck that was followed by law enforcement from a trucking depot, stopped and searched.
Geraldo Alavez, 46, of San Diego, Calif., was sentenced on December 19, 2011, by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to 66 months in federal prison followed by 5 years of supervised release; Jose Luis Martinez-Garcia, 37, of Woodhaven, N.Y., was sentenced today by Judge Smith to 24 months in federal prison and 2 years of supervised release. Previously, Alavez admitted to the court that he had been hired to coordinate the shipment of marijuana into Rhode Island and Massachusetts and to drive the truck; Martinez-Garcia previously admitted to the court that he signed for the shipment of marijuana from California and that he was hired to help load and unload the drugs.
Martinez-Garcia and Alavez pleaded guilty in September 2011 to conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. A third defendant, Donato Rogelio Mayen-Munoz, 37, of San Diego, Calif., is detained and awaiting trial on the same charges.
The sentences were announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Pawtucket Police Chief Paul King; and Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the New England Field Division of the DEA.
According to information presented to the court, on March 2, 2011, Pawtucket Police and DEA agents were conducting surveillance and watched as Munoz drove a rental truck from Providence to a motel in Warwick. About 15 minutes later, law enforcement watched as all three defendants left the motel and traveled to a Seekonk, Mass., retailer where the defendants allegedly purchased work gloves.
According to information presented to the court, the agents then followed the men to a trucking depot in Seekonk. Once inside the depot, the men allegedly loaded two pallets containing numerous plastic bins into the truck. The truck then left the depot and drove into Pawtucket where the driver was pulled over by a Pawtucket Police patrol car for a traffic violation.
According to information presented to the court, while the driver, Geraldo Alavez, was being questioned alongside the truck the officer heard the passenger side door, which he could not see, close. When the officer checked, he found the passenger side was empty. Martinez-Garcia and Mayen-Munoz were located nearby and detained by the officers and agents conducting the surveillance.
A search of the truck revealed 53 bales of marijuana of varying weights in plastic bins, wrapped and sealed. Many of the bales had been covered with grease in an effort to disguise the contents.
The defendants have been detained since their arrest.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adi K. Goldstein.