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Justice News

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Two Colombian Nationals Charged with Cocaine Trafficking

BOSTON – Two Colombian nationals were indicted today in federal court in Boston on drug trafficking charges.

Diego Sanchez, 34, and Ricardo Lopera Arteaga, 58, were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. Sanchez was also charged with two additional counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The defendants were previously charged by complaint and arrested on Oct. 9, 2019.  They are both currently in federal custody.

According to court documents, Sanchez engaged in two sales of cocaine to a cooperating witness on Sept. 10 and 27, 2019 in East Boston. Sanchez and Lopera-Arteaga alsoconspired together to sell one kilogram of cocaine to that same cooperating witness. 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.

The charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine provides fora mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 40 yearsin prison, at least four years of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. The charges of distribution of cocaine provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, 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 other statutory factors.

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. The case was investigated by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Hassink of Lelling’s Narcotics and 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.

Drug Trafficking
Updated November 6, 2019