New Bedford Drug Trafficker Who Fled Country Sentenced
FALL RIVER — A New Bedford narcotics trafficker who fled the country on the eve of his trial nearly five years ago after having his bail drastically reduced by a superior court judge was sentenced to serve four years in state prison Monday in Fall River Superior Court, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.
Rene Omar Santiago Perez, 41, was convicted by a jury after a five-day trial on indictments charging him with trafficking heroin in excess of 18 grams and trafficking cocaine in excess of 36 grams.
On April 4, 2013, New Bedford Police were in the midst of an investigation into drug trafficking out of an apartment at 46 Belleville Road. Police approached Perez after they observed him exit the apartment and throw items into a neighbor’s garbage can. The trash recovered included remnants of multiple cut plastic baggies. Inside the Perez’s coat, police found 11 bags of heroin. Inside his pants pocket, police located 25 bags of cocaine. A subsequent search of the apartment resulted in the seizure of another 12 bags of heroin and an additional 28 bags of cocaine.
In 2014, a Superior Court Judge reduced his bail from $50,000 to $15,000, at which point Perez posted the new bail and was outfitted with a GPS monitoring bracelet. However, on the day of his scheduled trial in December of 2014, Perez cut the bracelet off and boarded a flight for the Dominican Republic. Perez was re-arrested in February of 2019 in New Bedford after illegally re-entering the country. After his arrest earlier this year, Perez was held on $500,000 cash bail.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jeanne Veenstra and the state prison sentence was imposed by Judge Debra Squires-Lee.
The defendant is also facing an indictment charging him with bail jumping. He is due back in superior court on that indictment on November 8.
“I am very pleased jury held this defendant accountable for selling both heroin and cocaine, which is contributing to the ongoing opiate and addiction crisis in our communities. The prosecution was made more difficult because the defendant defaulted in late 2014 and remained at large until he was re-arrested earlier this year. Fortunately, he was not able to escape justice this time,” District Attorney Quinn said.
— Bristol County District Attorney's Office