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Narcotics
06/02/2017

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ICE arrests 2 in Massachusetts for attempt to traffic 7 kilos of cocaine

BOSTON — Two outstate men were arrested in Attleboro, Massachusetts Friday evening for allegedly trafficking nearly seven kilos of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to Boston on a commercial airline.

These arrests resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the cooperation of the U.S. Secret Service, and the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Attleboro (Massachusetts) Police Department.

Juan Luis Perez Garcia, 44, a Dominican national residing in Bronx, New York, and Juan Artiles Taveras, 43, of Lakewood, New Jersey, were arrested Friday, June 3, 2017, in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine.           

According to court documents a cooperating witness (CW) worked with investigators to identify members of a narcotics organization based in the Dominican Republic.  At a meeting in the Dominican Republic in June 2015, the CW and an undercover officer learned that one of the members of the narcotics organization had contacts who could put drugs on JetBlue flights destined for the United States, but they needed assistance in Boston taking the drugs off the plane.  The CW responded saying that he worked at the airport in Boston and could get the drugs off the aircraft without having them discovered.  In July 2015, another member of the drug organization told the CW that he had the ability to smuggle contraband into the United States from the Dominican Republic via JetBlue commercial flights.

It is alleged that in February 2016, the CW spoke with Perez Garcia about arranging for cocaine to be put on a plane in the Dominican Republic, to be received by the CW in Boston.  Over the course of the next year, several attempts were made that did not come to fruition.  On June 2, 2017, arrangements were allegedly made for a suitcase containing cocaine to arrive on a JetBlue flight from the Dominican Republic to Boston.  Upon arrival of the flight in Boston, federal agents intercepted the suitcase and conducted a field test which tested positive for cocaine and weighed nearly seven kilos.  On the evening of June 3, 2017, Perez Garcia and Artiles Taveras met the CW and undercover officer at a parking lot in Attleboro, Mass., to exchange money for the drugs.  Federal agents placed the two men under arrest.

The charging statute for possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to a lifetime in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of $10 million.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Tobin of Weinreb’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/09/2017