Mexican Citizen Sentenced to 5 Years for Cocaine Conspiracy
MADISON, Wis. – John G. McGarry, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Drug Enforcement Administration-Wisconsin, and U.S. Attorney Timothy M. O’Shea for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Karlett Salazar Zagal, 23, a citizen of Mexico living in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty and was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to five years in prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
In August 2020, law enforcement received information that several people sold cocaine at a barbershop and taverns in Arcadia, Wisconsin. As their investigation continued, law enforcement learned that three people in Wisconsin received cocaine from someone in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican source-of-supply shipped ½ kilogram quantities of cocaine at a time, via U.S. Mail, and hid the drugs inside radios, printers or bedsheets. In exchange for the cocaine, the Wisconsin-based cocaine traffickers sent money and guns to Puerto Rico.
As part of the investigation, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG) agents obtained and executed several federal search warrants. On May 5, 2021, agents obtained a federal search warrant for a parcel sent from Puerto Rico and destined for a residence in Winona, Minnesota. The Minnesota residence belonged to a person associated with the Wisconsin-based cocaine traffickers. Inside the parcel, investigators found 557 grams of cocaine hidden inside a large Bluetooth speaker.
On June 29, 2021, a USPS-OIG agent obtained a federal search warrant for a parcel sent from Independence, Wisconsin to a residence in Puerto Rico. Inside the parcel, investigators discovered two Glock semi-automatic handguns.
On July 13, 2021, a USPS-OIG agent obtained a federal search warrant for a parcel sent from Puerto Rico to an address in Independence, Wisconsin. Inside, investigators found 506 grams of cocaine. On July 14, 2021, investigators conducted a controlled delivery of the parcel and executed a search warrant. Law enforcement found Salazar, another member of the conspiracy, and an underage female inside the residence.
During a post-arrest interview, Salazar admitted that she “knew what was going on” because she helped run the cocaine business. She discussed how a Puerto Rican source-of-supply sent cocaine to Wisconsin through the U.S. Mail, as well as how the Wisconsin-based traffickers distributed the drugs in and around Arcadia. Salazar also admitted that she helped send the Glock pistols to Puerto Rico.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Conley highlighted Salazar’s role in a large drug conspiracy, and Salazar’s decision to send firearms on behalf of another member of the conspiracy.
The charge against Salazar was the result of an investigation conducted by the DEA; USPS-OIG; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation; Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office; Winona County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office; Arcadia Police Department; and Independence Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chadwick M. Elgersma prosecuted this case.