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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2002

DEA ARRESTS CRACK DISTRIBUTION GROUP IN WORCESTER

Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's New England Field Division, Mark R. Trouville and United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Michael J. Sullivan and Worcester County District Attorney John Conte, announced the arrest and indictment of four individuals in Worcester County on federal charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and distribution of crack cocaine.

The individuals were identified as DANIEL Q. GOMEZ, age 26, of 7 Liberty Street, Worcester, MA; JOSE SANCHEZ, age 32, of 54 Elliott Street, Worcester, MA; LUIS OCASIO, age 23, of 54 Elliott Street, Worcester, MA; and ELADIO BENITEZ, age 29, of 22 Village Drive, Southbridge, MA.

In a related development, HECTOR MOLINA, age 26, of 70 Goddard Street, Southbridge, MA, was arrested on a Massachusetts State arrest warrant for the distribution of cocaine and is being prosecuted by District Attorney Conte's office.

If convicted, the federal defendants face up to life imprisonment, a $4,000,000 fine and criminal forfeiture of money and cars. The federal defendants appeared before the Honorable Charles B. Swartwood III, United State Magistrate Judge, today and are being detained pending a hearing on Friday, August 2, 2002.

The arrests are the culmination of a five-month investigation conducted by the DEA's HIDTA Task Force, located in Worcester, MA. "This investigation targeted a well entrenched group of individuals who were focused on bringing crack cocaine into the Worcester County area. We deployed our best resources, worked closely with our state and local counterparts and were able to bring this case to a successful conclusion," said Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville.

This investigation targeted the distribution of crack cocaine in Southbridge, Worcester and greater Worcester County. The DEA HIDTA Task Force is comprised of enforcement personnel from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Massachusetts State Police, Southbridge Police Department, Gardner Police Department and Webster Police Department. This DEA HIDTA Task Force investigation was assisted by District Attorney John Conte's office; Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to D.A. Conte's office; the Worcester Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the U.S. Marshals Service; and the Worcester County Sheriff's Office. The Southbridge Police Department is credited with provided invaluable assistance throughout this investigation.

As a reminder, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial where the United States has the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant United States Attorney David Hennessy of U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan's Worcester office is prosecuting the case.

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