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Leader in cocaine conspiracy sentenced to more than 17 years

GREENBELT, Md., - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Alma Morales-Vegas, 38, of Reidsville, N.C., today to 210 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took part in the investigation that led to the sentencing.

According to trial testimony, from at least Dec. 4, 2007, through at least Jan. 26, 2008, Alma Morales-Vega and others conspired to bring cocaine from North Carolina to distribute in Maryland. From Dec. 13-14, 2007, Juan Herrera and co-conspirator Jesus Herrera-Zamora brought another individual to Reidsville to meet Morales-Vega, who stated that she could supply that individual with cocaine. Witnesses testified that on another occasion, after a series of telephone calls with Herrera, co-defendant Felipe Lucero traveled to Reidsville to obtain two kilograms of cocaine. Herrara arranged for Lucero and another co-conspirator, Isaac Rojas, to get the cocaine from Morales-Vega. After obtaining the cocaine from Morales-Vega in North Carolina, Herrera, Lucero and Rojas traveled to Bladensburg, Md., where they were stopped by Prince George's County Police. A search of their car recovered two kilograms of cocaine.

At today's sentencing, Judge Williams found that during the course of the conspiracy, Morales-Vega was responsible for the distribution of between 15 and 50 kilograms of cocaine.

Co-defendants Juan Herrera, 39, of Riverdale, Md., Jesus Herrera-Zamora, 30, and Felipe Lucero, 40, both of Hyattsville, Md., and Isaac Rojas, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Md., have all pleaded guilty to their role in the conspiracy. Herrera was sentenced to 155 months in prison; Herrera-Zamora to125 months in prison; Lucero to 67 months in prison; and Rojas was sentenced to 64 months in prison. Another co-defendant Humberto Salazar-Torres, 41, of Laurel, Md., also pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 87 months in prison.
ICE and the Prince George's County Police Department partnered in this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.