Baltimore, Maryland – United States District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Luis Lopez, age 40, of North East, Maryland today to five years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for Conspiracy To Distribute And Possess With Intent to Distribute Cocaine.

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Postal Inspector in Charge Robert B. Wemyss of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; and Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

According to his plea agreement, law enforcement began an investigation in 2015 into a drug conspiracy involving the importation and distribution of cocaine into the northeast Maryland and southern Delaware areas from Puerto Rico.  Lopez and his co-defendants conspired with others known and unknown to possess and distribute cocaine.

According to the plea agreement, the investigation revealed a number of suspicious parcels were being sent through the U.S. Postal Service from Puerto Rico to fictitious addressees in Maryland and Delaware.  For example, on February 20, 2015, investigators observed a U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail Express parcel was sent from Puerto Rico to an address in North East, Maryland, and that neither occupant at either address was associated to the sending or receiving addressee.  Postal Inspectors obtained a search warrant for the parcel and found that it contained approximately 250 grams of cocaine.

Similarly, on May 2, 2015, investigators became aware of a U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail Express parcel that was accepted by a male, who was later identified as Leroy Fuentes, Jr.  A traffic stop was conducted on Mr. Fuentes shortly after he left the post office with the parcel.  After a K-9 unit gave a positive alert to his vehicle, the vehicle and its contents were searched.  A search of the parcel revealed that the parcel contained approximately 135 grams of cocaine.  In each instance, these parcels were packaged in a similar fashion.

On September 3, 2016, law enforcement conducted a lawful traffic stop of Luis Lopez.  Lopez was searched and found to have a quantity of cocaine with him.  Law enforcement subsequently seized and obtained a search warrant for Lopez’s phone.  The search warrant revealed photographs sent to him via text message of a parcel similar to those that had been seized.  The phone also contained tracking information for a parcel sent to a P.O. Box in Bear, Delaware.  In addition to these photos, Lopez’s phone contained text messages between Lopez and his co-conspirators discussing the price of cocaine.

Finally, on September 22, 2016, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residence of Lopez and found numerous loose pills in plastic baggies and $11,806 in U.S. Currency.

Lopez’s co-conspirators have all pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and been sentenced as follows:

Troy Baker, age 28, of North East, Maryland was sentenced to 38 months;

Leroy Fuentes, age 30, of North East, Maryland was sentenced to 30 months;

Roy Fuentes, Jr., age 26, of Newark, Delaware was sentenced to 24 months

Dahan Lopez, age 37, of Elkton, Maryland was sentenced to 60 months;

Angel Padilla, age 29, of Elkton, Maryland was sentenced to 42 months;

Eileen Perez, age 39, of New Castle, Delaware was sentenced to 18 months;

Fernando Lopez, age 40, of New Castle, Delaware was sentenced to 60 months; and

Nadja Velez, age 31, of Elkton, Maryland was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day.

Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning praised the FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason D. Medinger who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.