26-year-old Orlando man gets 19 years in prison for attempting $600,000 cocaine purchase

A 26-year-old Orlando man will spend over 19 years behind bars for his role in attempting to buy over $600,000 of cocaine from undercover agents.

Derek Morales-Figueroa was sentenced to 19 years and 7 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Wendy W. Berger for conspiracy to distribute cocaine after pleading guilty earlier this year.

According to court records, in September 2020, Morales-Figueroa and a co-conspirator, Jacob Luis Bonilla-Rivera, engaged in a series of conversations with individuals they believed to be cocaine dealers. Those dealers were, in fact, undercover agents working on behalf of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Ultimately, Bonilla-Rivera and a third conspirator, Juan Omar Rodriguez, Jr., agreed to purchase 20 kilograms of cocaine in Orlando. Less than a week after discussions first began, HSI agents met with the men, who brought $600,000 in cash to the deal in a hidden compartment in one of their vehicles.

Morales-Figueroa participated in inspecting the cocaine by video conferencing one of the conspirator’s phones. After inspecting the cocaine, the men returned to their car to retrieve the cash from the hidden compartment and were arrested. Upon searching both vehicles, agents found loaded firearms along with a total of $639,325 in cash.

Morales-Figueroa was not located at the time of the initial arrest. On March 10, 2021, Morales-Figueroa was identified in a traffic stop in Flagler County on Interstate 95. During the traffic stop, Morales-Figueroa was asked to get out of the vehicle and, instead, got out of the passenger’s seat and into the driver’s seat of the vehicle. He fled from officers with an uninvolved minor in the back seat of the vehicle.

On January 3, 2022, Morales-Figueroa was arrested at a Jacksonville residence in connection with a search of that residence and the seizure of nine kilograms of cocaine and significant quantities of U.S. currency.

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