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Press Release

Three Men Charged with Conspiring to Distribute Nine Kilograms of Cocaine

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

BOSTON – Three men have been charged for their alleged roles in a cocaine distribution conspiracy.  

Leonardo Lara, 43, and Leandro Martinez, 41, both of Lawrence; and Merced Navarro-Morfin, 42, of Lunenberg, were indicted on one count each of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.  

With respect to Lara and Navarro-Morfin, the conspiracy is alleged to have involved five kilograms or more of cocaine.  Martinez and Navarro-Morfin were also indicted on one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Following initial appearances on Aug. 4, 2023, in federal court in Boston, Lara was detained pending a further hearing scheduled for Aug. 7, 2023.  Martinez was released by the court on conditions. Navarro-Morfin will have an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Aug. 9, 2023.

It is alleged that in April 2022, approximately $40,000 in suspected drug proceeds were seized from Lara’s vehicle following a traffic stop in Sturbridge. Shortly after Lara was released, Martinez and Navarro-Morfin allegedly travelled to a Methuen residence used by Lara, and removed eight kilograms of cocaine. Martinez and Navarro-Morfin also allegedly possessed approximately $196,000 in suspected drug proceeds and one additional kilogram of cocaine.

According to court records, Lara has two prior federal convictions. In 2017, Lara was convicted of money laundering and theft of public funds for which he was sentenced to 15 months in prison. In 2004, Lara was convicted in federal court of one count of bank robbery for which he was sentenced to two years’ probation.  Navarro-Morfin was also convicted in federal court in Boston in 2015 of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana and cocaine, for which he was sentenced to 97 months in prison.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, involving five kilograms or more of cocaine, provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million.  The charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute cocaine provide for a maximum of 20 years incarceration, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel R. Feldman of the Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated August 8, 2023

Topic
Drug Trafficking