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Pawtucket Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Dealing in New Bedford and Fall River

Judges Gavel

BOSTON – A Rhode Island man agreed to plead guilty Wednesday in federal court in Boston for his role in a wide-ranging operation that distributed cocaine and heroin throughout Bristol County, Mass., and Providence, R.I.

Jorge Luis Sanchez-Lopez, 43, of Pawtucket, R.I., agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms of cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel deferred accepting the plea until the sentencing hearing which is scheduled for Nov. 29, 2017.

Sanchez-Lopez was one of 10 individuals involved in a drug trafficking operation headed by Luis Lopez that imported hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New Bedford and Fall River, as well as distributed heroin, fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl in Bristol County. Sanchez-Lopez coordinated shipments of cocaine through the U.S. Mail with the assistance of co-defendant Chindy Diaz, who received cocaine-filled packages on Luis Lopez’s behalf and delivered it to Luis Lopez at his Fall River residence. Co-conspirator Israel Santiago also helped coordinate the receipt of cocaine on behalf of Luis Lopez, who then sold the cocaine to other drug dealers, including Nuno Fonseca and Tyson Britto.

In June 2016, the 10 defendants were charged for their individual roles in the operation. All of the conspirators have pleaded guilty and five have been sentenced. In June 2017, Fonseca was sentenced to 130 months in prison. In April 2017, Tyson Britto and Israel Santiago were sentenced to 78 months in prison and two years in prison, respectively. In January 2017, Luis Lopez was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Sharik Mendes was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Chindy Diaz pleaded guilty in October 2016 and is awaiting sentencing. In July 2017, Tyson Depina and Eric Desousa were sentenced to six years in prison and three years in prison, respectively.

The charge provides for a sentence of no greater than life in prison, five years to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $20 million. If the Court accepts the plea, Sanchez-Lopez will be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen of Weinreb’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the cases.

-U.S. Attorney’s Office

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