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Press Release

Attleboro Resident Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Trafficking 6 1/2 Kilos of Heroin

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

PROVIDENCE – Olga Lidia Sandoval, 39, of Attleboro, MA., was sentenced today to 84 months in federal prison for arranging for the transportation of 6 ½ kilograms of heroin from Guatemala through Mexico and into Rhode Island in May 2016.


The heroin was found stashed in the front differential and axle of a truck being towed by another vehicle driven by a New York resident along Interstate 95 on May 22, 2016.


At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith also ordered Sandoval to serve 5 years supervised release upon completion of her prison term. Sandoval also agreed to forfeit $10,396 in cash seized from her home on the date of her arrest. The court ordered that Sandoval, a Guatemalan national, be turned over to immigration officials for deportation proceedings upon completion of her prison sentence.


Sandoval pleaded guilty on May 1, 2017, to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin and possession with the intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin.


The U.S. Sentencing Guideline range of imprisonment in this matter is 70 to 87 months. The government and the defendant recommended to the court, and the court agreed to impose a sentence of 84 months of incarceration.


Sandoval’s sentence is announced by Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for New England.

According to information presented to the court, in November 2015, Rhode Island State Police and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force began investigating the drug trafficking activities of a co-conspirator in this matter, Jose Luis Amparo Nova, 33, of North Providence, RI.

In January 2016, HSI began investigating Olga Sandoval’s drug trafficking activities, which included arranging the importation and distribution of heroin in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The investigations, independent of one another, included electronic surveillance which captured conversations between Sandoval and Nova. Frequent conversations captured by HSI between Sandoval and others included discussions of efforts to send substantial sums of narcotics-derived proceeds to her Guatemalan sources of supply.

Beginning on May 13, 2016, law enforcement monitored discussions of a shipment of heroin from Mexico into Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Conversations included discussions of a location to deliver the shipment as well as payment for the drugs. On May 19, law enforcement monitored conversations that indicated that the truck transporting the drugs to New England had been damaged in a rollover accident.

On May 22, 2016, Rhode Island State Police stopped the driver of a U-Haul after witnessing the truck weaving in and out of marked lanes. The U-Haul was towing a heavily damaged truck that matched the description of the truck believed to being used to transport the shipment of heroin from Mexico to New England. As the traffic stop was occurring, law enforcement intercepted a call placed by Olga Sandoval indicating that she received a call informing her that the driver of the U-Haul, Ivan K. Alvarado, 39, of Spring Valley, NY, had been stopped by law enforcement.


The vehicles were towed to Rhode Island State Police headquarters where a court authorized search of the vehicles resulted in the discovery of 6.487 kilograms of heroin stashed in the underside of the truck being towed.


Ivan Alvarado was arrested on May 22, and Olga Sandoval and Jose Nova were arrested on May 24, 2016, on federal criminal complaints charging each with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan ordered the defendants detained in federal custody.


Sandoval and Nova were indicted by a federal grand jury on June 16, 2016, on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and possession with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Nova pleaded guilty on January 26, 2017, as charged in the indictment. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 14, 2017.


According to a plea agreement filed in this matter, Ivan Alvarado has agreed to plead guilty to an information charging him with drug trafficking. Alvarado is scheduled to be arraigned on July 5, 2017.


The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gendron.


Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch thanks the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General and the DEA for their assistance in this matter.




Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
on Twitter @USAO_RI

Updated June 29, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 17-68