NEWARK, N.J. – A Sunnyside, Washington, resident was sentenced today to 151 months in prison for his role in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that ended in February 2017 with the seizure of 15 kilograms of cocaine in a parking lot in Burbank, California, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Efrain Cardenas Alcaras, 41, was charged in the District of New Jersey with conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. His case was later transferred to the Central District of California in Los Angeles, where Alcaras pleaded guilty to an indictment before U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez. He was charged with at least three other people, two of whom have been sentenced in New Jersey by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From Aug. 31, 2016, through Feb. 8, 2017, law enforcement officers were monitoring communications between one of Alcaras’ co-defendants and others. Those communications led to law enforcement officers seizing approximately one kilogram of cocaine that a co-defendant had sold to another individual in California on Sept. 26, 2016. The cocaine was intended to be delivered to New Jersey.
On Feb. 8, 2017, in Burbank, California, law enforcement officers observed as Alcaras and his conspirators met with another individual in the parking lot of a retail establishment. The conspirators arrived in two vehicles, a black Jeep and a white sedan. Alcaras was driving the black Jeep, which was determined to contain the illegal narcotics. Approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine and a .380 caliber firearm were recovered from the scene.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Gutierrez sentenced Alcaras to five years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Wangenheim of the Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Humberto Diaz Esq., Los Angeles, California