POLK COUNTY, FL. – A 45-year-old Haines City Man has been convicted and sentenced to eleven years in prison after using the postal service to traffic cocaine from Puerto Rico.
Jose Roberto Garcia Arroyo, 45, of Haines City, Florida, was sentenced for conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.
The sentence was announced by Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
In May 2020, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received information that Garcia Arroyo, the maintenance supervisor at two local apartment complexes in Gainesville, was receiving shipments of cocaine from Puerto Rico through the United States Postal Service.
FBI agents teamed up with agents from the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Office and the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General. After researching parcel history associated with the two complexes, agents were able to determine that between August 2019 and June 2020, 110 parcels had been shipped from Puerto Rico, most weighing approximately 6 pounds.
One of these historical parcels was interdicted by USPIS at a postal facility and found to contain 2 kilograms of cocaine. Agents were also able to determine that a shipment of parcels was in transit to the apartment complexes.
“This investigation demonstrates the effectiveness and collaborative efforts of our local and federal law enforcement partners, to identify and intercept shipments of illegal substances via the United States Mail,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Coody. “The sentence imposed should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would use the United States Postal Service to conduct illegal activities.”
A joint surveillance operation was conducted in Gainesville on June 11, 2020.
During this operation, agents learned that Garcia Arroyo obtained 6 parcels from the postal carrier which had been shipped from Puerto Rico to addresses within the apartment complexes.
Shortly thereafter, an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) deputy conducted a traffic stop on Garcia Arroyo’s vehicle and a subsequent search of the truck revealed 6 priority mail parcels in the truck’s bed.
These parcels were each found to contain 2 kilograms of cocaine. A search warrant was executed at Garcia Arroyo’s maintenance office and priority mailboxes and a drug ledger were located and seized. On June 12, 2020, USPIS interdicted another priority mail parcel that had been shipped from Puerto Rico to the apartment complexes in Gainesville. This parcel was also found to contain 2 kilograms of cocaine.
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“We appreciate and applaud the outstanding work by the investigative and legal teams,” said Special Agent in Charge Scott Pierce, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, Southern Area Field office. “As this sentence clearly shows, any individual or organization who chooses to use the U.S. Mail to further illicit narcotics trafficking activity will be aggressively investigated and held accountable for their illegal conduct.”
As a result of the combined investigative efforts of these law enforcement agencies, Garcia Arroyo was held accountable at sentencing for trafficking 234 kilograms of cocaine. Authorities were able to seize 16 kilograms of cocaine over the course of the investigation.
This sentencing resulted from the collaborative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service Office, the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Elsey prosecuted the case.
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