A Brooklyn man, arrested in May at Union Station in what authorities called one of the largest drug seizures in the Washington area, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to the unlawful possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
Elias Carrasquillo, 49, was carrying more than 4 kilograms of cocaine when he was arrested at the Amtrak station on May 29, according to court documents. The cocaine was confiscated after a specially trained "narcotic detective dog" indicated to police that it smelled drugs. Authorities said the street value of the haul was more than $1 million.
Carrasquillo pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey under a special arrangement known as an Alford plea, in which the defendant does not acknowledge guilt but admits the evidence against him is so strong that he would likely be convicted.
Carrasquillo entered his plea one day after Richey denied a defense motion to suppress evidence prosecutors planned to use in the trial, specifically the cocaine itself. The Alford plea, however, allows Carrasquillo's attorney to appeal the judge's ruling on that motion.
Sentencing is expected in October. Under the statute to which he pleaded guilty, according to authorities, Carrasquillo faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years and could receive a sentence of up to 40 years and a fine of up to $2 million.