Bluffton man sentenced in smuggling conspiracy

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 3, 2014 

A Bluffton man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison last week for his role in a large-scale smuggling operation between the U.S. and Bolivia, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Roberto Barrero, 46, of Bluffton and a naturalized American citizen originally from Bolivia, smuggled firearms and cars to Bolivia, contraband cigarettes to New York, and trafficked cocaine, the release said.

Part of a long-term, undercover operation called Operation Pulaski, 45 defendants faced federal charges, and the operation seized 188 firearms, more than 200 grams of heroin, more than 3 kilograms of cocaine and nine stolen vehicles, the release said.

The judge at Barrero's sentencing said he was responsible for trafficking more than 50 firearms, 2,370 cartons of untaxed cigarettes, 935.15 grams of cocaine and nine stolen vehicles.

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