WILTON, Conn. -- A Brooklyn man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking cocaine to Costa Rica and defrauding elderly people through a fake sweepstakes scheme, thanks to an investigation aided by the Wilton Police Department.
Ricardo Castang, 36, was sentenced last week to 10 years for attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree and scheme to defraud in the first degree, New York City's Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan announced.
Castang was arrested on Sept. 21, 2016 when he arrived at a shoe repair business in Brooklyn to retrieve packages containing a kilogram of cocaine. An investigation revealed that he had received other packages from Costa Rica since at least December of 2015 and had communicated with co-conspirators about the packages via text messages, according to Brennan.
In addition to the cocaine trafficking charges, Castang was also involved in a scheme to defraud elderly victims by contacting them and claiming to represent Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. The victims were informed that they were sweepstakes winners, but first would have to submit payment to Castang for fees and taxes, Brennan said.
Between March 2015 and March 2016, Castang collected checks over $300,000 from more than two dozen victims in 17 states. The victims ranged in age from 51 to 91, with an average age of 78, in some cases victims paid between $50,000 and $60,000, and one victim over 80 sent multiple checks totaling nearly $30,000.
Catang and his co-conspirators arranged for nearly $480,000 in cash to be transferred to Costa Rica over the course of two and a half years, including proceeds from narcotics trafficking and the fake sweepstakes scheme.
The investigation was led by the DEA's New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, along with the Wilton Police Department and the Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s Elder Abuse Unit.
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