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Press Release

Worcester Man Sentenced for Role in Multi-Kilogram Cocaine Conspiracy

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

BOSTON – A Worcester man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Worcester for his role in a cocaine trafficking ring responsible for smuggling over 20 kilograms of cocaine into central Massachusetts. 

Japhet Garcia, 33, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to three and a half years in prison and two years of supervised release. Garcia previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute in excess of five kilograms of cocaine and possession with the intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine.

In December 2017, Garcia was captured on postal facility surveillance footage, with co-conspirator Jose Gonzalez, attempting to retrieve a package sent from Puerto Rico that had been found to contain three kilograms of cocaine. That month, agents also recovered over $70,000 in cash from Garcia’s luggage as he attempted to board a flight to Puerto Rico.  

In January 2018, wiretaps and surveillance revealed Garcia’s participation in the attempted smuggling of six kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico, using a U.S. Postal employee to retrieve the packages of cocaine. As the scheme unfolded, agents seized one of the packages (found to contain three kilograms of cocaine) and allowed the second to be delivered to the conspiracy members under continuing electronic and physical surveillance. After observing the postal employee deliver the suspect package to a member of the conspiracy, authorities arrested Garcia and the co-conspirators. The second package was seized, and was found to contain another three kilograms of cocaine. Over $40,000 in cash and drug ledgers documenting the sale of well over 20 kilograms of cocaine were also seized during a search of Garcia’s residence and an adjacent apartment.

Garcia is the second of four defendants charged to be sentenced in this investigation. Jose Gonzalez was sentenced on Sept. 25, 2019, to 10 years in prison. Co-defendant Deibby Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 1, 2019, and co-defendant Erick Cruz is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 8, 2019.  Another alleged member of the conspiracy, Caroline Cartagena, faces state charges.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Joseph Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent; and Leicester Interim Police Chief Kenneth Antanavica made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Lelling’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.

Updated October 2, 2019

Drug Trafficking