Louisiana Traffic Stop Uncovers Cross-Country Cocaine Ring, Bronx Man Pleads Guilty

By Calcasieu Staff
Published December 14, 2023

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Louisiana – Melvin Contreras, 33 years old, who lives in Bronx, New York, admitted guilt on December 7, 2023, for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride. This violated Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846, as announced by U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

Court documents reveal that on May 2, 2022, a Louisiana State Trooper stopped a 2005 Peterbilt tractor-trailer with a New Jersey license plate on Interstate 12 East for a motor carrier inspection. Melvin Contreras was driving the tractor while Pedro Sarante was found in the sleeper area of the tractor-trailer. Upon questioning about their cargo and itinerary, both occupants were unable to provide details.

Subsequently, troopers conducted a consensual search of the vehicle and discovered three rolling duffel bags containing around seventy-four kilograms (163 lbs) of cocaine in the sleeper area of the tractor-trailer. Both Contreras and Sarante were arrested by the troopers.

Following his arrest, Sarante revealed to law enforcement that he and Contreras had been hired to travel from New York to Baytown, Texas to pick up narcotics and were promised $1,000 per kilogram upon delivering the drugs to Newark, New Jersey.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Louisiana State Police conducted an investigation into this case, with Assistant United States Attorney Andr Jones of the Narcotics Unit overseeing the prosecution.