California Man Sentenced for Smuggling Fraudulent Cognitive Enhancement Drug Into the United States from China
BOSTON – Two men pleaded guilty today in federal court in Worcester to their roles in a wide-ranging fentanyl, heroin, crack, and cocaine trafficking conspiracy.
Ivan Torres, 32, of Fitchburg, and Abel Rodriguez Rivera, 35, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base (commonly known as crack cocaine), and 500 grams or more of cocaine. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencings for Sept. 7, 2023. Torres and Rivera were indicted on July 22, 2020, along with 15 other defendants.
According to court documents, 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 of the drug trafficking organization and its suppliers revealed that Torres and Rivera were both cocaine dealers.
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 and Rivera are the 16th and 17th defendants to be convicted in this case – either by guilty plea or jury conviction following trial.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, 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, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Massachusetts State Police provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alathea Porter of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit 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.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.