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Two Guilty of Federal Drug Charges in Case Involving Local Surveillance

December 21, 2018

WORCESTER -- A New Jersey firefighter and a Puerto Rican man who first came to the attention of federal agents conducting surveillance in Leominster in 2013 were convicted Wednesday of a series of federal drug charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release that Carlos Jimenez, 52, of Englishtown, N.J., and Ivan Cruz-Rivera, 50, of Dorado, Puerto Rico, were observed on Oct. 4, 2013 by federal agents who were conducting surveillance of garages on Union Street in Leominster where they believed drugs were being sold.

The agents saw two men in Lexus with New Jersey plates enter a garage and then leave 90 minutes later. After the Lexus left the area, a cooperating source bought $7,500 worth of heroin in the same garage, according to a press release.

A state trooper followed the Lexus from the scene, and eventually stopped it in Sturbridge for a traffic violation, according to a press release.

Jimenez and Cruz-Rivera both appeared nervous, and Jimenez “conspicuously” displayed his firefighter badge when he was asked for his drivers license, according to a press release.

The men told the trooper they were visiting in Lawrence, and gave conflicting answers to several questions, according to a press release. The men later told police they had about $1,000 in cash in the car and consented to a search of the Lexus, according to a press release.

The trooper then found $44,000 in a backpack inside the car. The cash was seized, but both men were released without charges.

Later, a cooperating witness told agents that Jimenez and Cruz-Rivera had been selling heroin in the area since 2012, and that Jimenez had previously said he drove the vehicle used for drug deliveries since his job as a firefighter made it less likely he would get in trouble if the two men were pulled over, according to a press release.

Following a 12-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Worcester, a jury convicted both men of possession with intent to distribute heroin, distribution of more than 100 grams of heroin, and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, according to a press release.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Hillman scheduled Cruz-Rivera’s sentencing for March 20, and sentencing for Jimenez for April 24. Both men face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, and a maximum of 40 years, along with a fine of up to $5 million.

Follow Robert Mills on Twitter @Robert_Mills.

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