NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — This week, a federal jury convicted two local residents on charges relating to drug trafficking and money laundering.
Court records show that Jose Luis Cruz-Colon, 42, and Nastassja Lopez-Alvarado, 31, both originally from Puerto Rico but living in Suffolk, would important kilograms of cocaine into Hampton Roads for distribution. They would then send the proceeds back to Puerto Rico to further the drug trafficking conspiracy.
Officials say their scheme began in or about 2018 and ran through in or about 2020.
“As the evidence at trial showed, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to launder the proceeds of their drug trafficking crimes on behalf of a network of conspirators that peddled illegal and potent substances from Puerto Rico into the Hampton Roads area,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Our Office is grateful to the trial team and our law enforcement partners for their thorough investigative efforts, which helped secure the guilty verdicts in this case.”
Through court-authorized wiretap interceptions, parcel interdictions, and other investigative work, agents were able to conduct controlled purchases of heroin and seize at least three kilograms of cocaine.
In addition, the pair was stopped at the Richmond International Airport last December and was prevented from taking approximately $28,000 in U.S. currency in a vacuum-sealed bag to Puerto Rico.
Authorities say Cruz-Colon was convicted of conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms or more of cocaine and at least one kilogram or more of heroin.
Lopez-Alvarado was convicted of conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms or more of cocaine.
They both face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison with a maximum possible penalty of life in prison.
They are set to be sentenced on February 2, 2022.