Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
BOSTON – Two New Bedford residents pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with a wide-ranging conspiracy that distributed heroin throughout Bristol County, Mass., and Providence, Rhode Island.
Eric Desousa, 26, of New Bedford, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and three counts of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. Tyson Depina, 40, of New Bedford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and three counts of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. U.S. District Court Senior Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for July 13, 2017, for both Depina and Desousa.
According to court documents, Depina had been receiving heroin from Sharik Mendes, who was sentenced in federal court for heroin trafficking in January. In the spring of 2016, Depina began receiving heroin from Eric Desousa. On April 14, 2016, investigators watched Desousa distribute heroin to Depina. Depina was then arrested in possession of this heroin. During the arrest process, however, Depina fled and attempted to destroy the heroin. An officer in pursuit was covered in the heroin that Depina attempted to destroy. As a result, the officer had to be taken to the hospital. A subsequent lab test confirmed that the heroin seized from Depina was a mixture of heroin and the deadly drug fentanyl, which has been responsible for hundreds of overdose deaths in Massachusetts.
On June 6, 2016, investigators watched as Desousa attempted to deliver heroin to a customer in New Bedford. Desousa was arrested and law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Desousa’s residence in New Bedford, where they found nearly 300 grams of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl and more than $8,000 in cash.
The charges against Desousa for conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $1 million. The charges against Depina for conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute provide for a sentence of no less than five years and up to 40 years in prison, a minimum of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Fall River Police Chief Daniel S. Racine; and New Bedford Police Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric S. Rosen of Weinreb’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.