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Press Release

United States Citizen Residing in Dominican Republic Sentenced to 178 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Import Cocaine into United States

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A United States citizen who had been residing in the Dominican Republic was sentenced today to 178 months in prison for conspiring to import hundreds of pounds of cocaine into the United States from Venezuela, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Edwin Nieves-Rosado, aka “Tortuga,” 56, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to Count One of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine. Judge Salas imposed a sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From 2016 through Jan. 10, 2020, Nieves-Rosado and others conspired to import at least 800 kilograms of cocaine. Nieves-Rosado admitted playing a managerial role in this conspiracy, which involved more than five individuals.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, Judge Salas sentenced Nieves-Rosado to five years of supervised release.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration operating in New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark, as well as special agents and task force officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration operating in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. He also thanked the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance with the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Repole of the Economic Crimes Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Francesca Liquori, Chief of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit.

Updated March 8, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 22-082