PROVIDENCE – A Pawtucket man who sold a kilogram of cocaine to another person while under law enforcement surveillance was sentenced on Monday to six-and-a-half years in federal prison, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.
Modesto Mercado, 38, pleaded guilty on May 4, 2021, to conspiracy and to distributing 500 grams or more of cocaine. At the time of his guilty plea, Mercado admitted that on February 12, 2020, he met with an individual by Facetime to arrange to sell that person a kilogram of cocaine for $30,000. During a later in-person meeting with the buyer, Mercado raised the price for the kilogram to $31,500, with the additional $1,500 to be split between himself and a person assisting him in arranging the purchase. Mercado told the buyer he could supply as many kilograms of cocaine as the buyer wanted to purchase.
According to information presented to the court, later that evening, while under surveillance by agents from Homeland Security Investigations, Mercado met with the buyer and another individual and sold a kilogram of cocaine. After the buyer claimed he could not pay more than the original agreed upon price of $30,000, Mercado indicated he wanted to remove and keep 150 grams of pure cocaine from the kilogram and replace it with cocaine that had been mixed with cutting agents, keeping the 150 grams for himself.
Mercado was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy to 78 months of incarceration to be followed by four years of federal supervised release.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gendron.