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Press Release

Puerto Rican Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Ship Narcotics Across State Lines

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Gulfport, MS – A Puerto Rican man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 2000 grams of methamphetamine in the Southern District of Mississippi in connection with shipments of drugs across state lines.

Ricardo Roman Rivera Santana, 32, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.

According to court documents, in 2021, an investigation was initiated involving John Michael Villafana-Mendez who was believed to be trafficking narcotics in Mississippi. During the investigation, agents identified Ricardo Roman Rivera Santana as the sender of two packages of narcotics, which were mailed from California to Mississippi. One package was mailed to a Vancleave address associated with Villafana-Mendez and the other was sent to a Pascagoula address. Both packages were intercepted by law enforcement. Lab reports for the substances in the 2 packages revealed 1043.9 grams of methamphetamine at 95% purity and 975.4 grams at 97% purity.

Rivera-Santana pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 10, 2024, and faces a minimum of ten years up to life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Villafana-Mendez previously pled guilty and was sentenced on December 6, 2023, to 169 months in prison. 

U.S. Attorney Todd W. Gee of the Southern District of Mississippi and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Anessa Daniels-McCaw of the Drug Enforcement Administration made the announcement.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Pascagoula Police Department, and Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica Rose is prosecuting the case.

Updated July 2, 2024

Drug Trafficking