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Press Release

Leaders of California-Based Cocaine Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

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

BOSTON – Two California men were sentenced on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in U.S. District Court in Boston for trafficking cocaine from Mexico into the United States.

Armando Meras Chavez, 37, of Visalia, Calif., and Arturo Rodriguez Ornelaz, 39, of Sanger, Calif. were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release.  In November 2015, Chavez and Ornelaz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribution of five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The charges resulted from a lengthy investigation that began in 2010 into the drug trafficking activities of the Chavez family, many of whom are Mexican nationals based in Washington and California.  Chavez and Ornelaz were the leaders within the organization, which imported kilograms of cocaine into the United States from Mexico, transported the cocaine across the country using tractor trailers, and sold it to a local cocaine distributor based in Dorchester.  During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately 50 kilograms of drugs and over $1 million in drug proceeds.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathaniel R. Mendell and Katherine Ferguson of Ortiz’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit.

Updated May 20, 2016

Drug Trafficking