Weymouth man sentenced to 10 years in prison for cocaine trafficking through mail

John Tavares helped coordinate the shipping of "significant" amounts of cocaine from Puerto Rico to Massachusetts, officials said.

A Weymouth man who allegedly helped traffic “significant” amounts of cocaine from Puerto Rico through the mail was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Feb. 7. 

John Tavares, 36, was also sentenced to eight years of supervised release. He was ordered to forfeit almost $92,000 in drug profits, according to U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office. 

“Mr. Tavares was a significant wholesale cocaine supplier who cultivated a major drug pipeline that funneled more than $1 million worth of cocaine from Puerto Rico to Massachusetts,” Rollins said in a statement. “In addition, this dangerous drug trafficker kept firearms to protect his cocaine stash and illicit proceeds – putting the community at risk with the potentially lethal combination of drug distribution and deadly weapons.


Federal inspectors found more than 40 suspicious parcels that had been sent through the mail from Puerto Rico to various Massachusetts addresses between March 2017 and August 2018. The packages were sent to residents in Quincy, North Dartmouth, Weymouth, and New Bedford. The suspicious packages were usually sent on the same day from Puerto Rico to two or more addresses in Massachusetts.

Investigators seized two parcels that contained approximately two kilograms of cocaine hidden in sealed coffee cans, officials said. Through surveillance footage, police learned that Tavares and a woman, Cristina Lopez, were receiving most of the parcels. 

Tavares and Lopes had flown regularly from Massachusetts to Puerto Rico for short trips lasting between 30 and 72 hours, officials said. The packages suspected of containing cocaine were typically sent to Massachusetts within one to three days after they returned. 

After collecting the packages, Tavares and Lopez arranged for the cocaine to be distributed. In total, the pair arranged for at least 44.9 kilograms of cocaine to be shipped from Puerto Rico to Massachusetts, officials said.

“Tavares and his co-conspirator are responsible for trafficking significant amounts of cocaine to the Massachusetts area. HSI is proud to work with our law enforcement partners to disrupt trafficking operations like this one and prevent dangerous drugs from reaching our communities,” Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in New England Matthew B. Millhollin said in a statement. 


Law enforcement agents searched residences used by Tavares and Lopez in Weymouth, North Dartmouth, and Boston. As a result, they seized more than three kilograms of cocaine, more than $100,000, drug paraphernalia, multiple guns, and ammunition, officials said. They also found CDs that contained photos taken from Lopez’s phone that showed Tavares posing in a bedroom with rifles. Other photos showed Tavares with large piles of cash, officials said. 

Lopez pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in October 2019, and was sentenced to six years in prison and three years of supervised release. Tavares pleaded guilty to similar charges the same month as Lopez. 

“What we have here today is a perfect example of what happens when different law enforcement agencies pool their resources and expertise to achieve a common goal…to protect American citizens from the many perils of illegal drugs,” Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Boston Division Darnell Edwards said in a statement. “It is our duty as postal inspectors to aggressively investigate those individuals who ship illicit drugs through the U.S. Mail. Make no mistake, we will find you and hold you accountable.” 


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