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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Colombian National Sentenced for Cocaine Trafficking

BOSTON – A Colombian national was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine distribution.

Diego Sanchez, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 27 months in prison.  Sanchez pleaded guilty on May 15, 2020 to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine, two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Sanchez engaged in two sales of cocaine to a cooperating witness for the government on Sept. 10 and 27, 2019 in East Boston.  Sanchez and his co-defendant, Ricardo Lopera-Arteaga, also conspired together to sell one kilogram of cocaine to the same cooperating witness.  On Oct. 9, 2019, law enforcement agents observed both men walking towards the location for a planned drug transaction and arrested them near the pre-arranged meeting spot in East Boston.  Lopera-Arteaga had one kilogram of cocaine in a bag he was carrying when arrested.  Lopera-Arteaga pleaded guilty to similar charges on Aug. 12, 2020.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Hassink of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case. 

The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Immigration
Component(s): 
Updated October 19, 2020