Carlos Garcia Rivero

MOUNT MORRIS – The leader of a cocaine trafficking ring that operated out of the village of Mount Morris was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison after pleading guilty in February to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distributing 28 grams or more of crack cocaine and 500 grams or more of cocaine.

The charges carried a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years and a $5 million fine..

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew McGrath, who prosecuted the case against him, Mount Morris resident Carlos Garcia Rivero, 45, would obtain bulk quantities of powder cocaine to be distributed, at his direction, by a number of street-level drug dealers as either powder or crack cocaine.

Rivero supplied those dealers with pre-packaged quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine, which would then be sold to individual drug users.

Investigators located nearly 500 grams of powder cocaine hidden in the basement of Rivero’s residence on Chapel Street in Mount Morris. More than $15,000 in cash was located at another premises utilized by Rivero’s organization for its drug dealing activities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rochester.

Rivero was arrested by FBI agents in February 2019 as he arrived at JFK International Airport on a flight from Columbia.

As the County News previously reported, Rivero’s Chapel Street residence was one of two raided by local and federal law enforcement in February 2019. The other, a second-floor apartment on Main Street, was the home of siblings Edwin and Yeleskey Soler-Vazquez. To read County News coverage of the raids, click here. The siblings were charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony.

Charged alongside Rivero was Joselito Rodriguez-Gonzalez who, authorities say, together were “responsible for the distribution of significant quantities of cocaine in the Mount Morris... area” and utilized “various addresses throughout Mount Morris to store, package and distribute their supply of narcotics.”

The 2019 raids in Mount Morris followed an 18-month investigation into drug sales in the area, Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty said at the time.

Authorities used confidential informants and controlled drug buys to accrue evidence against Rivero and other members of his network.

On one occasion in late 2018 for example, authorities equipped a confidential source with a recording device prior to a meeting with Garcia-Rivero and Rodriguez-Gonzalez. During the meeting, the two men gave the confidential informant 50 baggies of a chunky, powdery substance which was later identified via field test as cocaine, according to court records. In all, a confidential source used $7,000 in FBI funds to purchase about 57.4 grams of cocaine and crack cocaine from Rivero and Gonzalez on 11 occasions within the village of Mount Morris.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1