New Jersey firefighter and Puerto Rican man convicted of heroin conspiracy
BOSTON – A New Jersey firefighter and a Puerto Rican man were convicted by a federal jury in Worcester yesterday in connection with a heroin conspiracy.
Ivan Cruz-Rivera, 50, of Dorado, P.R., and Carlos Jimenez, 52, of Englishtown, N.J., were each convicted after a 12-day trial of one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and distribution of more than 100 grams of heroin, and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and to distribute heroin; Cruz-Rivera was found responsible for more than 100 grams of heroin with regards to the conspiracy charge. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Cruz-Rivera and Jimenez for March 20, 2019, and April 24, 2019, respectively.
On Oct. 4, 2013, federal agents were surveilling garages on Union Street in Leominster where they believed drugs were being sold. The agents observed two men in a Lexus with New Jersey plates entering the property and leaving over 90 minutes later. After the Lexus left, an individual at the garage sold heroin to a cooperating source for $7,500.
A law enforcement officer subsequently followed the Lexus and stopped the vehicle in Sturbridge after the driver committed a traffic violation. The trooper observed that the driver and passenger were visibly nervous – the driver’s hands were trembling and the passenger was avoiding eye contact and fidgeting. The driver provided the trooper with a New Jersey license and conspicuously displayed his firefighter badge, which identified him as Carlos Jimenez, and the passenger, Cruz-Rivera, presented a Puerto Rican identification card. When questioned about the purpose of the trip to Massachusetts, Jimenez gave conflicting answers and said that they had just come from Lawrence. Jimenez denied having weapons or drugs in the car but indicated that his passenger had some cash in the car. When Cruz-Rivera was questioned about transporting large sums of cash in the car, he gave evasive answers before finally stating that there was $1,000 in the car. After Jimenez consented to a vehicle search, the trooper found $44,000 in a black bag in the back seat of the Lexus.
The cash was seized, but Jimenez and Cruz-Rivera were released. Subsequently, a cooperating witness provided law enforcement with information regarding Jimenez and Cruz-Rivera’s drug trafficking activity. In approximately 2012, the cooperating witness began purchasing heroin from Cruz-Rivera. On Oct. 4, 2013, Jimenez told the cooperator that he drove for the drug delivery, because it was less likely that he would get in trouble if they were pulled over because he was a firefighter.
Both defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and no greater than 40 years in prison, four years of supervised release, and a fine of $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Brian D. Boyle Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New England Division; United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent; Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest Martineau; Leominster Interim Police Chief Michael Goldman; and Lunenburg Police Chief James P. Marino made the announcement today.