HAMPTON ROADS, Virginia – Two Suffolk residents have been convicted by a federal jury on charges relating to drug trafficking and money laundering in the Hampton Roads area.
According to court records, Jose Luis Cruz-Colon, 42, and Natassja Lopez-Alvarado, 31, were responsible for importing kilograms of cocaine into the Hampton Roads area for distribution and then sending the proceeds to their sales to Puerto Rico to further the drug trafficking plot.
Cruz-Colon and Lopez-Alvarado reportedly started drug trafficking in the Hampton Roads area around 2018 and continued around 2020.
Their involvement in the conspiracy came to light as part of a larger investigation into the criminal activities of the Rivera Drug Trafficking Organization in the Hampton Roads area.
Through court-authorized wiretaps, package bans and other investigative work, officers were able to make controlled purchases of heroin and seize at least three kilograms of cocaine. Additionally, on December 12, 2020, Cruz-Colon and Lopez-Alvarado were arrested at Richmond International Airport and prevented from taking approximately $ 28,000 in US dollars from a vacuum sealed bag from the Hampton Roads area. in Puerto Rico.
Cruz-Colon was convicted of conspiracy to launder money and of 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 cocaine. 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.
Cruz-Colon and Lopez-Alvarado both face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison with a possible maximum sentence of life in prison when convicted on February 2, 2022.
“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 who peddled illegal and potent substances from Puerto Rico to the Hampton Roads area, ”said Raj Parekh, Acting United States 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 guilty verdicts in this case. “