Two Defendants Convicted of Conspiracy to Import Heroin
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Kenia Verges, 27, and Alicia Garcia Rivera, 47, of Providence, Rhode Island, were convicted today by a federal jury of participating in a conspiracy to import heroin into the Unites States.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Scot R. Rittenberg, Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Washington, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by United States District Judge James. C. Cacheris.
Verges and Garcia Rivera each face a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison when they are sentenced on May 29, 2014.
Verges and Garcia Rivera were indicted on Nov. 14, 2013, by a federal grand jury on conspiracy to import heroin into the United States. According to court records and evidence presented at trial, the defendants, who are mother and daughter, were recruited by an international heroin cartel headed by a violent kingpin who recently was apprehended in Guatemala on drug charges. As part of the cartel’s scheme, the defendants each hid approximately two kilograms of heroin in seemingly innocent packaging for foodstuffs, which the defendants smuggled in their luggage onto commercial airline flights from Guatemala into the United States.
Several members of the cartel smuggled or attempted to smuggle multiple kilograms of heroin through Dulles International Airport in the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. In addition, the cartel’s managers in the United States wired and transferred millions of dollars in drug proceeds to the kingpin in Guatemala.
This case was investigated by HSI Washington. Assistant United States Attorney Gene Rossi and Special Assistant United States Attorney Edward Reilly are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.