Dartmouth Woman Charged in Cocaine Mail Scheme
BOSTON – A North Dartmouth woman and a Weymouth man were arrested Saturday and charged in connection with drug trafficking activities involving the shipments of multiple kilograms of cocaine sent through the mail.
Cristina Lopez, 43, of North Dartmouth, and John Tavares, 31, of Weymouth, were charged with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. Lopez and Tavares will appear in federal court today at 2:30 p.m.
According to court documents, more than 40 parcels that had been sent via the United States mail from Puerto Rico to various addresses in Massachusetts, including residences in Quincy, North Dartmouth, Weymouth, and New Bedford, were identified as suspicious. The parcels were often sent on the same day from Puerto Rico to two or more different addresses in Massachusetts. It is alleged that when federal agents executed search warrants on two of the parcels, they seized approximately two kilograms of cocaine hidden in sealed coffee cans. Through surveillance, agents allegedly determined that Lopez and Tavares were receiving the majority of the parcels. Agents also determined that Lopez and Tavares had been regularly flying from Massachusetts to Puerto Rico for trips lasting only 30 to 72 hours, and that the parcels suspected of containing cocaine were then typically sent to Massachusetts within one to three days after their return.
Court documents also reflect that Tavares has previously been convicted of various firearms and drug-related offenses.
The charge of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine provides for a sentence of at least five years and no greater than 40 years in prison, four years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Raymond D. Moss, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Boston; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division; Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey; Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III; Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson made the announcement today. The Quincy, Weymouth, Braintree, North Dartmouth and Boston Police Departments assisted with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James E. Arnold and Nadine Pellegrini of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the court documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
- U.S. Attorney's Office