Boston Strong news – Boston, MA: AGO MA reports 10.01.2019

Following a major takedown of a heroin/fentanyl trafficking operation in Methuen and Lawrence in June, 18 people have been indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

The defendants have been charged in connection with the largest opioid trafficking operation takedown in the history of the Massachusetts AG’s Office that resulted from an extensive federal, state, and local investigation. AG Healey announced in June that during the investigation, authorities seized more than 25 kilograms of heroin/fentanyl and cocaine, four firearms, and nearly $100,000 in cash.

These 12 individuals were arrested and arraigned in June and indicted on September 25 by an Essex Grand Jury on the following charges:

Jocheiry Acevedo Hernandez and Maricely Carrion Ramos were also indicted last week in Middlesex Superior Court and were charged with one count each of Trafficking Cocaine, Over 200 Grams. They will be arraigned on those charges September 30.

Four additional individuals were also indicted by the Essex County Grand Jury September 25 in connection with this trafficking operation:

These charges are the result of an extensive investigation involving AG Healey’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crime Division, the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and the Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team (CINRET), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Methuen and Woburn Police Departments, and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. 

Authorities executed search warrants at 14 locations in Methuen and Lawrence on June 19 that resulted in the seizure of several kilos total of fentanyl/heroin and cocaine; four firearms, including a loaded Ruger semi-automatic handgun, two .22 caliber handguns, one .45 Glock, and several rounds of ammunition; and $98,860 in cash. The investigation began in 2017 and culminated in the June takedown after months of undercover operations and cutting-edge surveillance of a sophisticated drug distribution enterprise with connections to other networks in the northeast and managed by traffickers as far away as New Jersey.

This investigation is ongoing. These charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The AG’s Office has been working closely with its federal, state and local partners to combat illegal drug trafficking. AG Healey formed a Fentanyl Strike Force to more aggressively combat the heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis in New England. In October 2018, the Office announced the Fentanyl Strike Force had been awarded a nearly $3 million grant to expand its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and disrupt drug and fentanyl trafficking throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gina Masotta of the AG’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crimes Division, Criminal Bureau Chief Gina Kwon, Investigator Sallyann Nelligan, Director of the AG’s Financial Investigations Division, and the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab.