Greenbelt, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Edwin Galvez-Berganza, age 30, of Hyattsville, Maryland, today to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute cocaine.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Special Agent in Charge Karl C. Colder of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department .
“This sentence is a great example of HSI’s mission to identify international drug traffickers and disrupt and dismantle their criminal operations in the United States,” said ICE Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge in Baltimore William Winter. “Let there be no mistake, drug trafficking organizations are reaching right here into our homes and communities in Maryland and HSI remains committed to working with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to combat these criminal organizations that want to profit from poisoning our children and destroying our way of life.”
According to his guilty plea, from 2005 to 2009 Berganza was a leader of a cocaine trafficking ring. Cocaine was flown from Guatemala to the United States, driven to Connecticut and then hidden in trailer hitches and driven from Connecticut to Berganza and his co-conspirators in Maryland. Each trailer hitch contained 3.5 kilograms of cocaine, which Berganza and his co-conspirators removed with a saw. Berganza also received cocaine that was hidden in candy. Berganza distributed the cocaine to co-conspirators and others.
In November 2006, law enforcement officers arrested two conspirators as they were transporting approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine from Connecticut to Berganza in Maryland. Two days later, Berganza fled the United States to Guatemala to avoid arrest. While in Guatemala, Berganza continued to ship packages of cocaine from Guatemala to Silver Spring, Maryland.
Berganza is responsible for the distribution of more than 150 kilograms of cocaine.
Six defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the HSI Baltimore, Montgomery County Police Department and DEA for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Mara Zusman Greenberg and James A. Crowell, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Enforcement Drug Task Force case.