2 Defendants Sentenced In Federal Drug Conspiracy Connected To Worcester Albinos Market

By Tiffany Williams –

On Friday at the United States District Court in Worcester, Massachusetts,  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman sentenced Antonio Rosario Garcia, a/k/a “Animal,” 40, to 80 months in prison and four years of supervised release. Cintia Franco, 32, was sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

June 2022, Franco and Garcia each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl; conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and heroin; and distribution of and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl.

Garcia also pleaded guilty to distribution of and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

During a Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation, John Robles was identified by investigators selling purported oxycodone pills, which were later determined to be counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, at Albino’s Market in Worcester. 

A court authorized wiretap of John Robles’ phone identified that Garcia was the supply source and that Garcia was distributing pills through John Robles and Torres. 

Additionally, the investigation also revealed that Garcia and Franco were distributing heroin, fentanyl pills and powdered fentanyl directly to users in Worcester. 

During their investigation law enforcement determined that Garcia and Franco used a Prius to facilitate the distribution of drugs. For example, during a controlled buy in August, Garcia drove the Prius to Albino’s Market. Shortly after his arrival, John Robles was able to supply 200 pills he had allegedly been waiting for. 

Several days later, Garcia drove the Prius to a meeting with a buyer seeking to purchase two bags of heroin. When officers subsequently stopped the buyer, she had a hypodermic needle and two plastic baggies of heroin in her possession. 

On August 7, agents observed Garcia drive the Prius to Torres’s apartment after Torres requested to check the quality of pills offered by Garcia.

During their investigation law enforcement determined that Garcia and Franco also used a red Jeep to facilitate the distribution of narcotics.

During this investigation Special Agent DiTullio applied for a wiretap. Special Agent DiTullio testified that he had been unable to “fully identify all of the Target Subjects and their criminal associates or obtain sufficient evidence to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” “identify or obtain evidence against many individuals who supply the Target Subjects with controlled substances” or determine the specific relationship between John Robles and Garcia, or “make large-scale seizures of drugs or US currency” from the conspirators or discover “how the Target Subjects dispose of the proceeds of their illegal activities.” 

Special Agent DiTullio sought the July wiretap to fill in these gaps in the Government’s knowledge and seize admissible evidence concerning the names and addresses of participants in the conspiracy; the leadership of the conspiracy; the relationships among co-conspirators; the dates, times, and places for commission of the target offenses; and the collection and distribution of proceeds.

As to a second  wiretap application, Special Agent DiTullio testified that, even accounting for the intercepted conversations in July, he still needed more information to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt against some conspirators, determine the nature of the relationship between Garcia and his source of narcotics from New York, or make large-scale seizures of drugs or discover how the conspirators disposed of the proceeds of their illegal activities. 

Special Agent DiTullio sought the August wiretap to fill in these gaps in the Government’s knowledge and continue to seize admissible evidence related to the goals discussed above. 

During their investigation law enforcement obtained a search warrant for a target apartment.

The affidavit for a search warrant detailed several controlled buys which the chain of events suggested that Garcia and Franco stored narcotics in the target apartment. 

On June 27, 2019, a cooperating witness informed John Robles that he would stop by Albino’s Market to pick up 200 purported oxycodone pills that day. When this cooperating witness arrived, he gave John Robles money, and Jok hn Robles “stated that he was waiting for someone to arrive with the pills.” Agents followed Garcia and Franco as they drove in a red Jeep from the Apartment to Albino’s Market.  The cooperating witness, who had been waiting outside, observed a man exit a red Jeep around the time agents reported that Garcia and Franco had arrived at Albino’s Market. 

The man entered the store and later returned to the red Jeep carrying some juice. Immediately after the man left the store, Robles called the cooperating witness back into the store and handed over 200 fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone pills. 

Garcia’s arrival at the store from the Apartment, in other words, coincided with the arrival of the pills for which John Robles had allegedly been waiting. The Government conducted another controlled buy in August, to similar effect.

During their investigation law enforcement determined that Garcia and Franco were participating in an ongoing conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and evidence of their past behavior was relevant to demonstrate the scope and operation of the conspiracy. 

During their investigation law enforcement intercepted several conversations from the Title III wiretaps indicating that Garcia and Franco stored drugs in the tafget apartment. On August 5 and August 20, individuals called Garcia and Franco to purchase narcotics. Garcia and Franco arranged to meet with these individuals at specified locations, and Garcia drove directly from the target apartment to these locations. He did not enter Albino’s Market before supplying the requested narcotics. 

On August 20, Garcia and the buyer met in the parking lot of Albino’s Market, but neither individual entered the store itself.

During their investigation law enforcement determined that Garcia and Franco used a Prius to facilitate the distribution of drugs. For example, during a controlled buy in August, Garcia drove the Prius to Albino’s Market. Shortly after his arrival, John Robles was able to supply 200 pills he had allegedly been waiting for. Several days later, Garcia drove the Prius to a meeting with a buyer seeking to purchase two bags of heroin. When officers subsequently stopped the buyer, she had a hypodermic needle and two plastic baggies of heroin in her possession. 

On August 7, agents observed Garcia drive the Prius to Torres’s apartment after Torres requested to check the quality of pills offered by Garcia.

During their investigation law enforcement determined that Garcia and Franco also used a red Jeep to facilitate the distribution of narcotics.

Jector Torres, in October was sentenced to 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

John Robles previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 18, 2023.

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