Dominican Republic

2 Arrested for Trafficking 7 Kilos of Cocaine on Commercial Flight

Two men were arrested in Massachusetts Friday for allegedly trafficking nearly seven kilos of cocaine into Boston from the Dominican Republic. The arrests are a climactic conclusion to a nearly-two-year investigation into cocaine smuggling from the Caribbean nation.

Juan Luis Perez Garcia, 44, a Dominican national residing in the Bronx, New York, and Juan Artiles Taveras, 43, of Lakewood, New Jersey, were arrested in Attleborough and charged with possession with intent to distribute. The charging statue for over five kilograms or more of cocaine provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

According to court documents, authorities learned of a plan to smuggle cocaine into Boston over JetBlue flights at a meeting with narcotics smugglers in the Dominican Republic, in June 2015.

It is alleged that a witness working with authorities spoke with Garcia in February 2016 about arranging for cocaine to be put on a plane in the Dominican Republic and to be received by the undercover in Boston.

Over the next year, several attempts were made to coordinate a hand-off, which never came to fruition. Then on Friday, arrangements were made to smuggle seven kilos of cocaine into Boston in a suitcase.

Upon arrival of the flight to Boston, federal agents discovered the cocaine. Saturday evening, Garcia and Taveras allegedly met with the informant to exchange money for drugs. Federal authorities placed the two men under arrest.

A joint announcement of the arrest was made Monday by Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb, Special Angent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston Matthew J. Etre, and Stephen A. Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Boston Field.

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