A Colombian national caught last year trafficking cocaine in East Boston was sentenced to five years in prison by a federal judge last week.
Ricardo Lopera-Arteaga, 59, was sentenced by the U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to five years in prison and four years of supervised release. Lopera-Arteaga will be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.
In August 2020, Lopera-Arteaga pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and one count of unlawful reentry of a deported alien. He has been in federal custody since his arrest on Oct. 9, 2019 with co-defendant Diego Sanchez, 34, who pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced to 27 months in prison.
According to court documents, Sanchez engaged in two sales of cocaine to a cooperating witness on Sept. 10 and 27, 2019 in East Boston. Sanchez and Lopera-Arteaga also conspired together to sell one kilogram of cocaine to that same cooperating witness.
On Oct. 9, 2019, law enforcement agents observed both men meet and walk together towards a spot in Eastie arranged for the drug transaction. Agents arrested both men a short time later and seized one kilogram of cocaine from Lopera-Arteaga.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.