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GREENVILLE – Three Puerto Rican men have been sentenced to prison for conspiring to distribute illegal narcotics at a private lockup in Tallahatchie County.
According to court documents, Christian Jose Collazo Torres, 28, of Ponce, Puerto Rico; Neftali Santiago, 28, of Ponce, Puerto Rico; and Jean Carlos Flores Santiago, 32, of Caguas, Puerto Rico; conspired with each other to possess with the intent to distribute illegal narcotics, including Fentanyl, a schedule II controlled substance, for the purpose of smuggling the illegal narcotics and other contraband into Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, a private prison in Tutwiler operated by Nashville-based CoreCivic.
“On April 24, 2021, the three individuals were found in close proximity to the Tutwiler prison in possession of two drones, narcotics, cigarettes and cell phones, packaged in a manner consistent with smuggling items into a prison,” according to a March 9 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi (NDM). “Each of the three individuals involved pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.”
The three were sentenced to prison terms earlier this year, as follows:
» On Feb. 2, Torres was sentenced by Chief U.S District Judge Debra M. Brown of the NDM to serve 18 months, followed by three years of supervised release.
» On Feb. 23, Brown sentenced Neftali Santiago to serve 34 months, followed by three years of supervised release.
» On March 9, Jean Carlos Santiago was sentenced by Brown to serve 24 months, followed by three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner of the NDM and Don Douglas, resident agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, made the announcement.
“The prosecution of illegal drug trafficking is a priority in the Northern District of Mississippi, and we work closely with DEA, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and local law enforcement to ensure that those individuals and organizations who traffic and distribute drugs in our district are held accountable,” remarked Joyner. “The actions of these individuals and their attempts to smuggle illegal narcotics into a prison facility make them extremely deserving of the prison sentences they received in this case.”
The DEA, Tutwiler Police Department and Tallahatchie County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Mims prosecuted the case.
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