Father and son sentenced to more than 12 years in prison in large-scale cocaine and heroin trafficking conspiracy


Date: May 16, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

BOSTON — Two Springfield men were sentenced today for their roles in a large-scale drug trafficking organization supplied by sources in Mexico and spanning at least four states.

Isaac Cardona and Rafael Cardona Sr. were each sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 146 months in prison and five years of supervised release. On Oct. 18, 2021, the Cardonas were convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin. Isaac Cardona was also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The Cardonas were indicted in November 2017 as part of a 14-month wiretap investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking organization supplied by sources in Mexico and spanning at least four states.

The Cardonas conspired with co-defendant David Cruz to traffic cocaine and heroin from Mexico, through California, to the Springfield area and into New England. Isaac Cardona owed Cruz money for one kilogram of the cocaine Cruz had distributed to him, and, in order to pay down that debt, the Cardonas and other co-conspirators conspired to import at least one kilogram of heroin (which turned out to be pure fentanyl) from sources in Mexico. In late August 2016, Isaac Cardona traveled by car to San Diego, Calif., with cash to pay for the heroin. Cruz later traveled to San Diego, retrieved the car and the cash, and, on Sept. 8, 2016, used the cash to purchase what he believed to be one kilogram of heroin. Law enforcement in California seized the vehicle and recovered approximately one kilogram of pure fentanyl.

Cruz previously pleaded guilty to drug and firearms offenses and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 13, 2022.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations in Boston; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration's Carlsbad (Calif.) Resident Office and the Westfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven H. Breslow and Neil L. Desroches of Rollins' Springfield Branch Office prosecuted the case.

The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation's illegal drug supply.