PROVIDENCE, RI – A Providence man today admitted to trafficking cocaine through the U.S. Postal Service from Puerto Rico to Rhode Island, and to shipping packages containing cash to Puerto Rico.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Eliot Figueroa-Rosario, 44, pled guilty to attempted possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, announced United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Boston Division Joseph W. Cronin, and Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
According to court documents, for more than a year, United States Postal Inspection Service inspectors conducted an investigation into Figueroa-Rosario’s drug trafficking activities and his involvement in a series of packages shipped to and from Puerto Rico.
In May 2017 and May 2018, Figueroa-Rosario was captured on video surveillance shipping parcels to Puerto Rico from the U.S. Postal Service Providence Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). A court-authorized search of the packages found them to contain $16,000 and $26,000 respectively. The cash was seized by law enforcement.
On June 15, 2018, a Priority Mail package mailed three days earlier from Puerto Rico and addressed to Figueroa-Rosario’s Providence residence was intercepted from the mail stream at the P&DC. The package was examined by a Rhode Island State Police K-9, which detected the presence of a narcotic odor. A federal court-authorized inspection of the contents of the package revealed 1160 grams of cocaine.
Several days later a Postal Service Inspection undercover agent delivered the package to Figueroa-Rosario’s residence. Figueroa-Rosario accepted the package and was arrested.
A court-authorized search of the residence by U.S. Postal Inspectors and members of the Rhode Island State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force resulted in the seizure of, among other items, evidence of packages shipped from Puerto Rico to Figueroa-Rosario’s residence and $6,500 in cash found hidden in a floor vent.
Figueroa-Rosario is scheduled to be sentenced on March 15, 2019.
Attempted possession with attempt to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine is punishable by statutory penalties of 5-40 years of imprisonment; a term of supervised release of at least 4 years and up to life; and a fine of $5,000,000.