Four Indicted in Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE – A federal grand jury in Providence on Tuesday returned an indictment charging four individuals with participating in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than a kilogram of cocaine. It is alleged that the cocaine was shipped to Rhode Island from Puerto Rico via the U.S. Postal Service in small quantities in an effort to avoid detection by law enforcement.
It is alleged in court documents that a steady stream of U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail parcels containing small amounts of cocaine were shipped from San Juan, PR, to the defendants at various addresses and P.O. Boxes in several Rhode Island communities. An investigation by U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service determined that return addresses on most of the packages were actual addresses in San Juan, PR, but that the name of senders were not associated with the addresses.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, announce the indictment of Maritza Torres, 40, Jose Martinez, 54, and Hector Martinez-Garcia, 55, all of Providence, and Jeanlee Figueroa-Hernandez 21, of Central Falls, on charges of conspiracy to possess more than one kilogram of cocaine and possession with the intent to distribute more than one kilogram of cocaine.
The defendants, previously detained on federal criminal complaints brought as a result of the investigation of the alleged conspiracy, are currently released on $10,000 unsecured bond. Arraignment dates have not yet been scheduled by the court.
According to court documents, it is alleged that in August 2016, U.S. Postal Inspectors discovered a Priority Mail parcel at the Providence Post Office shipped from San Juan, PR, which was found to have many characteristics of a parcel containing narcotics that had been sealed and addressed in a way as to avoid detection by law enforcement. The investigation, including the use of a Cranston Police Department narcotics detection K-9, allegedly confirmed the presence of narcotics inside the package.
It is alleged in court documents that since August 2016, Postal Inspectors tracked dozens of similar packages, which arrived at the Providence Post Office, most originating from the same neighborhood in San Juan, PR, for delivery in Rhode Island. Some of the packages were addressed to PO Boxes and were claimed at the post office. Other packages were addressed for delivery at various addresses. It is alleged that most of the deliveries were retrieved or accepted by the defendants or others associated with them.
A search of Postal Service databases by Postal Service inspectors revealed that 195 Priority Mail envelopes weighing approximately one pound, shipped within a couple of weeks of each other, and shipped from the same return address in San Juan, PR, have arrived in Rhode Island.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch acknowledges and thanks the Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, the Newport and Cranston Police Departments, and the DEA for their assistance in the investigation of this matter.
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
on Twitter @USAO_RI
Updated May 10, 2017
Press Release Number: 17-49