Rhode Island Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyer James E. Smith found this Projo piece covering drug convictions
01:00 AM EST on Saturday, December 11, 2010
3 men found guilty in heroin-smuggling trial
A federal jury returned guilty verdicts on Friday against two Cranston men and a Guatemalan for their roles in smuggling heroin into the United States from Guatemala and selling the drugs in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
They were also convicted on charges of laundering more than $100,000 and sending the money back to Guatemala.
The jury, after hearing more than six days of testimony, found Ervin Figueroa, 42, and his brother, Elio Figueroa, 35, both of Cranston; and Carlos R. Rodas, of Guatemala, guilty on multiple drug, conspiracy and money-laundering counts. Rodas’ age was not available.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha said in a news release that the three men were part of a group that smuggled more than a kilogram — 2.2 pounds — of heroin into the United States with the use of couriers. The couriers, he said, swallowed latex-wrapped heroin pellets in Guatemala and then passed the drugs after arriving in Rhode Island.
The guilty verdicts on Friday bring to seven the total number of suspects prosecuted in the drug-smuggling ring. In October 2009, Jose A. Lazala, no age or address available, pleaded guilty to federal heroin-possession and firearms charges. He was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.
Three other suspects have pleaded guilty in the case, and they have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing.
U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith scheduled sentencing hearings on March 25 for the Figueroa brothers and Rodas.
W. Zachary Malinowski