Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for His Role in Wide-Ranging Drug Conspiracy
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
BOSTON – A Puerto Rican man was sentenced today in federal court in Worcester for his role in a wide-ranging cocaine trafficking conspiracy.
Abel Rodriguez Rivera, 35, of Ponce, Puerto Rico was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to five years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release. On March 10, 2023, Rivera pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
Following a fatal fentanyl overdose in September 2018, an investigation began into a drug trafficking organization in the Fitchburg area. Beginning in July 2019, court authorized interceptions of wire and electronic communications to and from telephones used by members and suppliers of the drug trafficking organization revealed that Torres was a cocaine dealer who supplied cocaine to the drug trafficking organization.
Over the course of the investigation, over 1.8 kilograms of a heroin/fentanyl mixture, over 3.6 kilograms of cocaine, over 50 grams of crack cocaine, a stolen, loaded handgun, drug manufacturing equipment and over $376,000 in U.S. currency were seized.
Torres is the 13th defendant to be sentenced in this case. All 18 defendants have been convicted – either by guilty plea or jury conviction following trial. The remaining convicted defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in October and November 2023.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction; and John E. Mawn Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today. The Fitchburg and Lunenburg Police Departments and U.S. Postal Inspection Service provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alathea Porter of the Criminal Division prosecuted the case.
This effort 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 https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Updated September 26, 2023