Directed a Co-Conspirator to Bring Kilograms of Heroin from New York to Maryland
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Luis Miguel Mendez-Rivera, a/k/a El Flaco, age 34, of the Bronx, New York, today to 12 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, from December 2017 through March 6, 2018, Mendez-Rivera conspired with others to distribute between three and 10 kilograms of heroin. In December 2017, a man residing in the Dominican Republic directed Mendez-Rivera to contact a confidential source who was working with law enforcement to provide the source with narcotics. Mendez-Rivera had numerous telephone conversations with the source and agreed to provide the source with a kilogram of cocaine on consignment. During the calls, Mendez-Rivera advised the source that his co-conspirator, Milciades D. Pena-Zapata, would deliver the heroin to the source and complete the transaction.
On February 22, 2018, Mendez-Rivera sent his co-conspirator and drug courier, Pena-Zapata, from New York to Maryland to deliver heroin to the source. Pena-Zapata met the source at a previously agreed upon location and they completed the drug transaction in the source’s car. The source and Mendez-Rivera arranged a second transaction for three kilograms of heroin in exchange for $100,000 and three handguns. On March 6, 2018, Pena-Zapata again traveled from New York to Maryland to meet the source. Pena-Zapata got into the source’s car and they drove to a more secluded location where Pena-Zapata removed a large quantity of heroin from his backpack and placed it in the trunk of the source’s car. Pena-Zapata inspected the contents of the suitcase containing three handguns and approximately $100,000. Pena-Zapata was arrested a short time later.
Laboratory analysis confirmed that a total of 3,998.54 grams of heroin was delivered to Maryland by Pena-Zapata on behalf of Mendez-Rivera.
Pena-Zapata, age 35, of Lawrence, Alabama, pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to five years in prison.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur praised HSI Baltimore, the Montgomery County Police Department and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation, and thanked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division for its assistance. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin B. Pulice and Ray D. McKenzie, who prosecuted the case.