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Press Release

Two Springfield Men Convicted in Large-Scale Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendants conspired to traffic cocaine and heroin from Mexico to Springfield area

BOSTON – Two Springfield men were convicted yesterday by a federal jury in Worcester for their roles in a large-scale drug trafficking organization supplied by sources in Mexico and spanning at least four states.

Isaac Cardona, 34, and Rafael Cardona Sr., 61, were convicted following a nine-day trial of conspiracy to distribute to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin. Isaac Cardona was also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Jan. 31, 2022.

The Cardonas were indicted in November 2017 as part of a 14-month wiretap investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking organization supplied by sources in Mexico and spanning at least four states.

The Cardonas conspired with co-defendant David Cruz to traffic cocaine and heroin from Mexico, through California, to the Springfield area and into New England. Isaac Cardona owed Cruz money for one kilogram of the cocaine Cruz had distributed to him, and, in order to pay down that debt, the Cardonas and other co-conspirators conspired to import at least one kilogram of heroin (which turned out to be pure fentanyl) from sources in Mexico. In late August 2016, Isaac Cardona traveled by car to San Diego, Calif., with cash to pay for the heroin. Cruz later traveled to San Diego, retrieved the car and the cash, and, on Sept. 8, 2016, used the cash to purchase what he believed to be one kilogram of heroin. Law enforcement in California seized the vehicle and recovered approximately one kilogram of pure fentanyl. 

Cruz previously pleaded guilty to drug and firearms offenses and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 9, 2021.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Carlsbad (Calif.) Resident Office and the Westfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Catherine G. Curley, Steven H. Breslow and Neil L. Desroches of Mendell’s Springfield Office are prosecuting the case.

The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf.

Updated October 19, 2021

Topics
Drug Trafficking