ALEXANDRIA, Va. (STL.News) – A federal jury convicted a narcotics trafficker from the Dominican Republic yesterday who was involved in a multi-million dollar deal to obtain a large quantity of cocaine.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Luis M. Liriano-Toribio, 32, traveled from New York to Northern Virginia last October to assist Luis Rafael Tavarez and Manny Lizardo with a drug trafficking operation. Tavarez sought to obtain 100 kilograms of cocaine in exchange for $2.5 million in cash. Law enforcement seized over $1.15 million in cash at the time of Liriano-Toribio’s arrest.
The government presented evidence showing that Liriano-Toribio and Tavarez spoke via telephone and FaceTime on 66 separate occasions within a nine-day period preceding the deal, including 16 separate occasions on the day of their arrest. Evidence presented at trial also included a photograph of Lizardo holding large stacks of cash, and text messages in which Liriano-Toribio and Tavarez discussed meeting late at night in the weeks leading up to the massive drug transaction.
Tavarez, who pleaded guilty on February 27, served as the leader and organizer of the operation and was arrested at a hotel in Vienna in possession of over $1 million in cash. Lizardo, who pleaded guilty on March 11, was arrested with Liriano-Toribio in a parking garage in Fairfax while both men were attempting to take possession of the cocaine with the intent to distribute it.
The jury convicted Liriano-Toribio of attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. He faces a mandatory minimum term of 5 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison when sentenced on June 21. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police, Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga accepted the verdict. Assistant U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-426.