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Press Release

Pasco Man Found Guilty Of Witness Tampering, Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering, And Obstructing Justice Sentenced To 27 Years In Federal Prison

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

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Javier Monserrate Vazquez (47, Wesley Chapel) to 27 years in federal prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy against the United States, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, suborning perjury, and contempt of court. Monserrate Vazquez was also ordered to forfeit $250,000. A federal jury found Monserrate Vazquez guilty on October 16, 2023.

According to evidence presented at trial, Monserrate Vazquez was a supplier of cocaine in Pasco County. The drugs were received through the mail from Puerto Rico. Co-conspirators received the packages for further distribution. In October 2018, agents discovered a package containing two kilograms of cocaine addressed to one of Monserrate Vazquez’s co-conspirators. In a controlled delivery, a third co-conspirator retrieved the package. A search of his cellphone showed that Monserrate Vazquez had coordinated the pickup. Monserrate also delivered more than $171,000 in cash to an undercover agent in June 2018 for the purpose of laundering the funds to Colombia through the Black-Market Peso Exchange.

In the summer of 2018, agents obtained evidence of Monserrate Vazquez threatening to kill an associate over an unpaid drug debt. The threats included claims that he would burn the associate alive, cut off his head, and chop off his hands. In the spring of 2020, Monserrate Vazquez induced two people – including the person he threatened to kill – to sign affidavits claiming that Monserrate Vazquez had no involvement in drug trafficking. In court filings seeking to exclude evidence, Monserrate Vazquez relied on one of the affidavits to accuse the federal agents investigating him of misconduct and to potentially end their careers. Monserrate Vazquez kept in contact with potential witnesses against him through an encrypted phone application and a contraband prison cellphone, as well as aided a witness in leaving Tampa while trial was pending to avoid a subpoena to testify. He also paid as much as $10,000 for his co-defendant’s attorney in exchange for his co-defendant’s silence.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Tampa Police Department and the Largo Police Department. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Baeza and Diego Novaes.

Updated May 24, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud