The man who left more than 46 pounds of cocaine hidden in a minivan he returned to a Lawrence, N.H. car rental agency was recently sentenced to up to 25 years in state prison for drug trafficking, The Eagle Tribune reports.
Angel Ayala Roque, 46, of Methuen, N.H., was sentenced to 19 to 20 years on a charge of trafficking cocaine over 200 grams, and one to five years in prison to be served consecutively with the first sentence, on a charge of conspiracy to violate drug laws.
A jury found Roque not guilty of a second charge of trafficking cocaine over 200 grams.
He was given credit for the 652 days he has been in custody awaiting trial.
John Cicilline, Roque's lawyer, filed an immediate appeal of the conviction.
Roque was arrested in September 2006 after he returned a rented minivan to Thrifty Car Rental on South Union Street, but left behind two boxes containing 21 2.2-pound bricks of cocaine in the van's stow-and-go compartments beneath the floorboards.
It was never officially determined how the cocaine was left behind in the van, however investigators said they believe Roque may have thought the cache had been previously removed by someone else from the stow-and-go compartments in the rear of the vehicle.
According to The Eagle Tribune, the van had been rented by Nicole Paquette, 32, of Haverhill, N.H., using her credit card. After workers found the cocaine while cleaning the van, police set up a sting operation and had her return to the agency to retrieve the two boxes left behind.
She was arrested when she took possession of the boxes, but cooperated with investigators, leading them to Roque's Methuen apartment where another 30 2.2-pound bricks of cocaine and $123,000 in cash were discovered.
She received the minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison at her cocaine trafficking trial, and an additional 10-year concurrent sentence for conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Roque's jury found him guilty on the trafficking charge involving the cocaine found in his apartment, but not guilty on the trafficking charge involving the cocaine left in the van.