New London man pleads guilty to federal cocaine distribution charge

Edgardo O. Centeno of New London pleaded guilty Tuesday in Hartford federal court to conspiring to distribute cocaine in southeastern Connecticut.

The 43-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 5 by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant.

Centeno was one of more than 100 people charged with state and federal offenses in April 2013 following a multi-agency investigation into the large-scale trafficking of cocaine and heroin from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to the New London area.

The investigation revealed that certain members of the conspiracy coordinated the shipment of heroin, and sometimes cocaine, via human couriers from the Dominican Republic to the United States. Other members of the conspiracy obtained kilogram quantities of cocaine in Puerto Rico and then mailed the drug to locations in and around New London where it was sold to distributors and customers. Narcotics were also obtained from sources in New York City and Rhode Island.

According to the government, Centeno received quantities of cocaine from Juan Cheverez in deals arranged over their cellphones. Cheverez received kilogram quantities of cocaine through the United States mail system via a source in Puerto Rico. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on March 19 and awaits sentencing.

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