Woonsocket man sentenced for role in ‘cocaine pipeline’ from Puerto Rico

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A Woonsocket man who was found to be involved in a drug trafficking operation, smuggling more than five dozen kilos of cocaine from Puerto Rico to Rhode Island through the United States Postal Service was sentenced Monday, announced U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha.

William Lugo was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.

According to court documents, Lugo, 32,  previously admitted to a federal judge that he accepted at least eight parcels, containing at least one kilogram of cocaine shipped from Puerto Rico between December 2017, and July 2020.

Officials said the cocaine was often shipped and stashed inside wine racks and Bluetooth speakers.

Court documents further state Lugo admitted that he would regularly communicate with the leaders of the drug trafficking ring in Rhode Island and in Puerto Rico over social media when the drugs were delivered. He received cash payments for each package he accepted or retrieved.

On July 14, 2020, U. S. Postal Service Inspectors and members of the Rhode Island high Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force executed a court-authorized search of Lugo’s apartment and seized a ghost gun with nine rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, cellphones he used to communicate with members of the drug operation, two wine racks with broken bottoms and two Bluetooth speakers.

Lugo pleaded guilty on May 1, 2023 to charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, unlawful use of a communication facility (the U.S. mail), and being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition.

At the time of his arrest by federal agents in 2020, he was serving a term of state probation after being convicted of carrying a pistol without a license in 2015.

Categories: News, Rhode Island