New Bedford Shop Owner Sentenced for Cocaine Trafficking
NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford man who used his Allen Street clothing store to peddle cocaine has been sentenced to serve up to seven years in state prison.
The Bristol County District Attorney's Office said 47-year-old Jose Nieves-Beniquez — who owns Rosalinda's Fashions at 104 Allen St. — pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking and other drug charges on April 11.
New Bedford police detectives searched the clothing store on June 12, 2020 as part of a narcotics investigation.
The detectives stopped Nieves-Beniquez in his gray Mini Cooper in the store's parking lot after he left the store briefly before returning.
Police said they found 28 plastic bags of cocaine hidden in a closet that itself was hidden in the duct work of the business.
Lab testing later confirmed that the bags contained around 220 grams of cocaine.
Police also found more than one pound of marijuana and $12,254 in cash, the D.A.'s office said.
When they learned that Nieves-Beniquez lived in an apartment above the store, detectives searched his home at 98 Allen St. as well.
Inside a mailbox, they found a parcel addressed to a "Ray Carlson" at Nieves-Beniquez's address — but no one with that name lives there.
Detectives found another 2.4 pounds of marijuana inside the parcel, according to the D.A.'s office.
Fall River Superior Court Judge Renee Dupuis sentenced Nieves-Beniquez to serve five to seven years in prison on the narcotics charges.
Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn commented, "I am pleased the defendant was held accountable for using his small business to sell large quantities of narcotics for profit."
"The defendant’s actions were helping to fuel the ongoing addiction crisis in our urban areas," he added.