10 year minimum sentence for cousins in heroin case

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RUTLAND — The former owner of a Bondville pizzeria accepted a plea deal on Monday for his role in moving nearly 100 pounds of heroin from Guatemala to Manchester Center.

According to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, Marco Antonio Lam Peralta, the former owner of Tony's New York Style Pizzeria, and Diego Walther Anibal Mejia Paredes were arrested in October 2015 following an investigation of packages delivered to a Mexican restaurant in Manchester. In early October 2015, federal agents seized in Miami a shipment from Guatemala containing more than 40 kilograms of heroin. Agents tracked delivery of the package to Paredes, who was arrested in Manchester after he took possession of the cocaine.

According to court documents, while awaiting delivery of the package, Paredes was in phone contact with Peralta, and that while Paredes waited at the Manchester restaurant, Peralta contacted the shipping company twice. Additional investigation identified seven previous shipments — similar in size, weight, and customs declarations to the heroin-containing intercepted package — that were sent to addresses associated with Peralta in the Manchester area during the three months preceding the October 2015 arrest.

At the time of his arrest, Peralta, who is also known as Tony Lam, was living in South Londonderry.

Both men will receive a 10-year mandatory minimum prison term, and could be sentenced to up to life.

Peralta and Paredes were prosecuted by Michael Drescher, from the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont, and defended by Steven Barth, from the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Vermont.

According to court documents, Paredes and Peralta are cousins. Their sentencing date has been set for Dec. 4. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Agency, Homeland Security Investigation, the Vermont State Police and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Bob Audette can be contacted at raudette@reformer.com. Follow him on Twitter @audette.reformer.


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