Dartmouth woman pleads guilty to smuggling cocaine

Oct 14, 2019

A Dartmouth woman has pleaded guilty in Boston federal court in connection with a scheme to smuggle cocaine into the United States. 

According to a press release, Cristina Lopez, 44, pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine on October 10.

The charges were brought last year after federal investigators honed in on a cocaine smuggling ring. 

The U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service identified more than 40 suspicious parcels sent through the mail between March 2017 and August 2018 from Puerto Rico to various addresses in Massachusetts. They were sent to residential addresses in Quincy, North Dartmouth, Weymouth, and New Bedford. 

The parcels were often sent on the same day from Puerto Rico to two or more different addresses in Massachusetts. 

Federal agents secured search warrants on two of the parcels, and discovered two kilograms of cocaine hidden in sealed coffee cans. Through surveillance, federal investigators identified Lopez as the recipient of several of the parcels. 

Lopez was one of two people charged in the case. John Tavares, 31, of Weymouth, is accused of also receiving the parcels containing cocaine. Tavares has pleaded not guilty to charges filed against him. His trial is scheduled for October 28. 

Both traveled frequently to Puerto Rico on trips lasting only 30 to 72 hours. The parcels were sent within one to three days of their return. 

Lopez will be sentenced in Boston federal court on January 8, 2020.