Cocaine Trafficker Convicted
Vicente Esteves Conspired to Import 150 Kilograms of Cocaine into the United States
New York - Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division, announced that a jury returned a guilty verdict today against Vicente Esteves, a/k/a “El Bori,” on one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, as charged in a Superseding Indictment. Esteves is scheduled to be sentenced on November 17, 2022, by U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl, who presided over the eight-day trial.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Esteves was a ‘boss’ of a drug trafficking crew that conspired to import 150 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. Today, Esteves’s drug trafficking operation has been disrupted, and he stands convicted of his crime and faces the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence.”
According to the Superseding Indictment and the evidence at trial:
Between at least in or about September 2020 and in or about December 2020, Esteves belonged to a New York/New Jersey-based drug trafficking organization (the “DTO”) that attempted to purchase 150 kilograms of cocaine from purported Colombian suppliers, who were in fact undercover law enforcement agents. The DTO negotiated for the delivery of the cocaine in Puerto Rico, with the delivery of the purchase money in the Bronx, New York. On the day of the exchange, December 4, 2020, Esteves and his coconspirators arrived in the Bronx to complete the transaction with two suitcases stuffed with more than $1.3 million cash, which was intended as a payment for part of the overall 150-kilogram transaction. Esteves supervised the collection and delivery of the $1.3 million and carried a ledger for the transaction in his wallet. A third suitcase, containing over $644,000 in additional cash, was later recovered in a stash house that Esteves and coconspirators met at in preparation for the transaction.
Esteves, 49, was convicted on one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine, which carries a mandatory minimum prison term of ten years and a maximum prison term of life.
The statutory maximum penalty is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Homeland Security Investigations, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Edison Police Department.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Jun Xiang, Ashley Nicolas, and Frank Balsamello and Paralegal Specialists Christopher Sykes and Alei Rizvi are in charge of the prosecution.