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News Release
November 12, 2002

New Bedford Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Cocaine Trafficking

Boston, MA… A New Bedford man was sentenced Thursday, November 7, 2002, in federal court for participating in a widespread conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine in the New Bedford area.

Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, announced that ROBERT J. GLONSALVES, a/k/a "Robert Medeiros," age 27, of 31 Holly Street in New Bedford, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Edward F. Harrington to 7 years' imprisonment, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. GONSALVES also forfeited to the government a 1998 Lincoln Navigator SUV and a cashier's check in the amount of $13,000. GONSALVES pleaded guilty on April 4, 2002 to a multiple-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to import cocaine, importation of cocaine, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.

At the earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government's evidence would have proven that GONSALVES and others were involved in a conspiracy, from at least 1998 through December 2000, to distribute cocaine throughout the New Bedford area. GONSALVES received quantities of cocaine from multiple sources in New York City and elsewhere, had the cocaine transported to New Bedford, broke the cocaine down into smaller quantities, and sold the cocaine to customers who then resold it to others.

In late August 2000, GONSALVES and a co-defendant named Steven G. Lobo, also of New Bedford, flew to Brazil with $30,000 in cash to purchase four kilograms of cocaine from a new source of supply. While there, GONSALVES purchased the four kilograms, broke them up into two separate packages, and attempted to mail them back to the New Bedford area. Brazilian authorities intercepted two kilograms secreted inside a vacuum cleaner that had been mailed from Brazil to an address in Acushnet. A few days later, U.S. Customs officials at a Federal Express center in Memphis, Tennessee intercepted two kilograms secreted inside a waffle iron that had been mailed from Brazil to an address in New Bedford.

In early April 2001, GONSALVES was arrested in New Bedford by DEA and he was subsequently released on bail. Through further investigation, DEA learned that GONSALVES and his co-defendant, Lobo, engaged in various acts designed to obstruct justice and to damage the government's case. The most serious act occurred when GONSALVES and Lobo planted over 10 ounces of cocaine inside the automobile of a cooperating witness who they knew to be working with the DEA. They then called the Massachusetts State Police barracks in North Dartmouth and anonymously provided specific information concerning the cooperating witness and the automobile in order to set up the cooperating witness to be arrested on narcotics charges. When this plan failed, GONSALVES and Lobo formulated a plan to plant cocaine inside the residence of the cooperating witness so that the cooperating witness could be arrested by a local police department on narcotics charges. GONSALVES admitted that he engaged in this conduct in order to derail the government's case against him by destroying or damaging the credibility of the cooperating witness at any future trial.

Based on this witness tampering, GONSALVES was re-arrested in mid-April 2001, and following an evidentiary hearing, was held without bail in federal custody. Lobo was also arrested by DEA in mid April 2001 and detained as well. Lobo pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year and will be sentenced later this month.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in cooperation with the U.S. Customs Service, the New Bedford and Fall River Police Departments and the Massachusetts State Police.

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