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Press Release

Colombian National Sentenced for Cocaine Trafficking and Illegal Reentry

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Colombian national was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for cocaine trafficking and illegal reentry charges.

Ricardo Lopera-Arteaga, 59, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to five years in prison and four years of supervised release. Lopera-Arteaga will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence. In August 2020, Lopera-Arteaga pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and one count of unlawful reentry of a deported alien. He has been in federal custody since his arrest on Oct. 9, 2019 with co-defendant Diego Sanchez, 34, who pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

Lopera-Arteaga and Sanchez conspired together to sell one kilogram of cocaine to a cooperating witness in East Boston in October 2019. Sanchez also engaged in two sales of cocaine to the same cooperating witness on Sept. 10 and 27, 2019 in East Boston. On Oct. 9, 2019, law enforcement agents observed both men meet and walk together towards a spot arranged for the drug transaction. Agents arrested both men a short time later and seized one kilogram of cocaine from Lopera-Arteaga.

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

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Updated December 11, 2020

Drug Trafficking