(STL.News) – A Colombian national pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to cocaine trafficking charges.
Diego Sanchez, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Sept. 14, 2020. Sanchez has been in federal custody since his arrest on Oct. 9, 2019.
Sanchez engaged in two sales of cocaine to a cooperating witness on Sept. 10 and 27, 2019, in East Boston. Sanchez and his co-defendant also conspired to sell one kilogram of cocaine to that same cooperating witness. On Oct. 9, 2019, law enforcement agents observed both men walking towards the location for the expected drug transaction and arrested them near the pre-arranged meeting spot in East Boston.
The charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine provide for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. The charges of distribution of cocaine provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Hassink of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.