Massachusetts man facing up to life in prison for role in trafficking $120,000,000 in cocaine in furniture in MA, NY, FL



Photo courtesy of New York Department of Justice

A Massachusetts man was convicted this week for his role in a drug trafficking organization that moved over $100,000,000 of cocaine in furniture.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the conviction Monday in Manhattan federal court of Abel Montilla for his participation in a cocaine trafficking scheme between 2018 and 2021. The jury convicted Montilla following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel. Sentencing of Montilla is scheduled for March 22, 2023.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “The unanimous jury verdict holds Abel Montilla accountable for his role in a widespread cocaine trafficking organization that flooded the streets with four tons of cocaine. Montilla was a coordinator of the drug trafficking organization who traveled around the country to manage the delivery of the organization’s cocaine-filled furniture. He now faces the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence for his crime.”

According to the New York Department of Justice, between 2018 and 2021, Montilla was a member of a drug trafficking organization that engaged in a drug-trafficking scheme involving the concealment of cocaine inside custom-built furniture. Between in or about September 2018 and June 2019, the DTO sent approximately 27 shipments of cargo from Puerto Rico to the continental United States. The cocaine was concealed in more than approximately 70 custom cube-shaped coffee tables or other furniture. The organization falsely represented that the cargo contained furniture, but that furniture in fact concealed hundred-kilogram quantities of cocaine. In total, the trafficking organization shipped approximately 4,000 kilograms of cocaine, worth at least $120,000,000 on the street. Eight of the organization’s shipments were sent to addresses in the Southern District of New York, including in Yonkers and the Bronx. Those eight shipments contained a total of approximately 775 kilograms (1,704 pounds) of cocaine.

Montilla was a Massachusetts-based coordinator of cocaine shipments who managed the recipients of the organization’s deliveries of cocaine shipments and the distribution of the cocaine concealed inside the furniture. At times, Montilla drove straight through the night from Massachusetts to Florida to be present for a cocaine delivery, then flew or drove back to Massachusetts to handle additional cocaine deliveries there. In total, Montilla coordinated at least a dozen drug shipments in Massachusetts and Florida, and at least twelve of the 27 shipments were sent to addresses affiliated with Montilla.

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The 49-year-old Montilla was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison.

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