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Arrests made after drug ring suspected of shipping cocaine, heroin to Hampton Roads from Puerto Rico

Posted at 12:56 PM, Sep 22, 2020

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Federal authorities say several kilograms of cocaine and heroin were being shipped through the mail between February 2019 until this past May.

Natassja Lopez-Alvarado and Jose Cruz-Colon were arrested this month accused of distributing narcotics.

There were several previous arrests in the case.

Court documents give insight into the alleged scheme that involved law enforcement throughout the region.

Federal prosecutors allege that over the course of the investigation there were six drug packages discovered and three confiscated by authorities with five kilograms of cocaine found.

Authorities say some of the drugs were shipped from Puerto Rico to Hampton Roads – then thousands of dollars were being sent back from where the drugs came from.

Records states law enforcement were working with confidential informants, buying drugs undercover and following people to the post office.

Legal Analyst Sonny Stallings is a local defense attorney. He said several people he has represented have been arrested for using the mail to send drugs. He said there have been advancements in how law enforcement is detecting illegal activity.

“They're getting a lot better at detecting these things,” said Stallings.

Stallings said in many cases a confidential informant will cause a drug operation to fall apart.

“Then the wheels come off the wagon on the whole operation. Once they get somebody tell them how it works, when it comes in, how much is coming in, who's distributing. That's how they get into these organizations, they're just not fishing through the mail,” said Stallings. “I've been told by the law enforcement in the business that the drug trafficking in Tidewater is as busy as ever.”

He said people get lured by the money.

“Unfortunately, there's not enough money to compensate for the amount of prison time a lot of them end up getting,” said Stallings.