MERIDEN — A local man faces charges after police said he received packages containing kilograms of cocaine that were sent through the postal service from Puerto Rico last year.
Jean Carlos Mercado, 32, of Meriden, was indicted Tuesday on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. The first charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life. The second charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 40 years.
In October 2020, law enforcement identified suspicious packages that were being mailed from Puerto Rico to Meriden, according to a statement from Tom Carson, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut. On Oct. 26, 2020, Mercado reportedly picked up a package from the Meriden address, which was not disclosed. After Mercado picked up another package from the same location on Nov. 6, 2020, investigators stopped his vehicle, which was unregistered and later towed from the scene with the package inside.
Officials searched the package and found two kilograms of cocaine, the statement said. Mercado worked with others to pick up packages in the following few months. Law enforcement seized four more kilograms of cocaine that were linked to Mercado.
Mercado was arrested on federal charges on July 21 and is currently released on $100,000 bond. Acting U.S. Attorney Leonard Boyle stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the statement said.