Drug kingpin takes plea
The leader of a large, illegal drug ring pleaded guilty to racketeering charges Thursday during a plea hearing in Mesa County District Court.
Francisco Javier Peralta-Cabral, 45, of Meeker, entered a guilty plea to the charges as part of an agreement negotiated by Mesa County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.
Peralta-Cabral faces a sentence of 16 to 32 years in prison under the terms of the agreement, Rubinstein said.
Peralta-Cabral pleaded guilty to a class 2 felony under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. The maximum possible sentence is normally eight to 48 years, Rubinstein said.
“Our plea agreement is, he will get a sentence of between 16 and 32 years,” he said. “I agreed to take a little off the top but he agreed to go beyond the minimum.”
“Thirty-two years is what the court can give him, and 32 years is plenty for what he did,” Rubinstein said.
By pleading guilty to racketeering, Peralta-Cabral also pleaded guilty to each “predicate act” supporting the racketeering charges, which included two counts of possession with intent to distribute more than 1 kilogram of a controlled substance, distribution of a controlled substance and two counts of conspiracy.
“It’s called a pattern of racketeering activity,” Rubinstein said. “It’s all related to his drug distribution. All of the predicate acts were various versions of conspiring to distribute drugs.”
An organizational chart presented in evidence by the district attorney showed Peralta-Cabral as the leader of a group of more than two dozen people in a drug distribution network that stretched from Southern California to Atlanta.
The organization, accused of crimes dating to December 2012 in Mesa and Garfield counties, was brought down by surveillance including court-authorized wiretaps, clandestine “pole cameras” and confidential police informants, according to a 47-page indictment. A judge will sentence Peralta-Cabral on Feb. 14.