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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2002

DEA INVESTIGATION RESULTS IN SENTENCING OF 14 DEFENDANTS FOR HEROIN OFFENSES

Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New England Field Division; Commissioner Paul F. Evans, Boston Police Department and Michael Sullivan, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts announce the end of a six-day evidentiary sentencing hearing conducted before the Honorable Mark L. Wolf, U.S. District Court Judge. This sentencing hearing focused on the testimony of eight witnesses in support of the sentencing of fourteen (14) defendants, who were convicted of participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin in and around Boston, MA from January 1999 through February 2001.

During 1999 and 2000 some of the defendants targeted in the DEA Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation pleaded guilty to charges of heroin distribution. During May and June 2002 the fourteen (14) defendants pleaded guilty to a federal indictment charging them with conspiracy to distribute heroin.

"The men and women of the DEA Task Force put their heart and soul into this investigation and I am pleased with the results of their efforts," said Mark R. Trouville. "By focusing our resources and targeting, not individuals but organizations, we have our best community impact. We thank our colleagues for their expertise in helping us dismantle this extensive heroin organization."

The defendants sentenced are as follows:

1. HECTOR BIENVENIDO ARIAS, age 50, formerly of the Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston, MA - Sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.

2. YOLANDA HERRERA, age 47, formerly of the Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston, MA - Sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.

3. HECTOR ALEXANDER ARIAS, age27, formerly of the Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston, MA - Sentenced to 10 years and 1 month in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.

4. LINNA DEYANIRA GONZALEZ, age 33 formerly of the Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston, MA - Sentenced to 1 year and 7 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

5. JUAN CARLOS SOTO-PIMENTAL, age 22 formerly Leston Street, Mattapan, MA - Sentenced to 5 years in federal prison, followed by 4 years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine.

6. NELSON RUDY TEJEDA, age 28, formerly of Howe Street, Dorchester, MA - Sentenced to 5 years and 2 months in federal prison, followed by 4 years of supervised release and a $25,000 fine.

7. JOSE A. CRUZ, age 30, formerly of Rockvale Circle, Jamaica Plain, MA - Sentenced to 1 year in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

8. JOSE CARRASQUILLO, age 29, formerly of East Cottage Street, Roxbury, MA - Sentenced to 3 years and 10 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

9. MARCIAL FUENTES ORTIZ, age 35, formerly of O'Callaghan Way, South Boston, MA - Sentenced to 1 year and 8 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release and a $4,000 fine.

10. FERNANDO A. SOTO ARIAS, age 35, formerly of Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA - Sentenced to 2 years in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

11. AWILDA J. OSORIO, age 42, formerly of Shirley Street, Roxbury, MA - Sentenced to 2 years and 1 month in federal prison, followed by 4 years of supervised release.

12. IRIS NIEVES, age 43, formerly of Hyde Park Avenue, Hyde Park, MA - Sentenced to 2 years and 1 month in federal prison, followed by 4 years of supervised release.

13. ISABEL A RAMOS, age 43, formerly of Creston Street, Roxbury, MA - Sentenced to 1 year and 9 months in federal prison, followed by 4 years of supervised release.

14. GERONIMO CANDELARIA, age 41, formerly of Eunice Street, Dorchester, MA - Sentenced to 5 months in federal prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.

As a result of this investigation HECTOR B. ARIAS, HECTOR A. ARIAS, YOLANDA HERRERA, JUAN SOTO, NELSON TEJEDA, JOSE CARRASQUILLO and FERNANDO SOTO all face possible deportation to their native country, the Dominican Republic, upon completion of their federal prison sentences.

At earlier plea hearings, and during the presentation of evidence at the sentencing hearings, the prosecutors told the Court that the Government's evidence would have proven that HECTOR B. ARIAS organized and led a widespread conspiracy to distribute heroin from at least January 1999 through February 2001. HECTOR B. ARIAS operated the conspiracy from an apartment in the Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston, MA. The apartment was leased by YOLANDA HERRERA. The apartment was used as a "mill" where heroin was received, processed or "cut" and packaged for street sale. HERRERA functioned as the record keeper for the organization and she regularly assisted in cutting and bagging heroin.

Also throughout the conspiracy, HECTOR A. ARIAS, son of HECTOR B. ARIAS and YOLANDA HERRERA, organized the receipt of heroin from multiple suppliers, recruited a series of couriers to deliver packages of bagged heroin to numerous customers, sometimes made deliveries to the customers himself, and assisted his parents in cutting and bagging heroin. During much of the conspiracy, HECTOR A. ARIAS lived in another apartment in the Old Colony Housing Development with his girlfriend LINNA GONZALEZ. HECTOR A. ARIAS used this apartment as another base of operation and frequently received wholesale quantities of heroin from multiple suppliers, who were transporting the heroin from New York City. LINNA GONZALEZ made deliveries for the organization and she did so on numerous occasions from 1999 through June 2000.

At various times from January 1999 through September 2000, others were recruited to deliver throughout the Boston, MA area, packages or bundles of heroin to the many customers of this heroin organization. Those identified by authorities as having served in this capacity included JUAN SOTO, NELSON TEJEDA, JOSE CRUZ, JOSE CARRASQUILLO, MARCIAL ORTIZ, and FERNANDO SOTO. In addition, law enforcement officers were able to identify other participants in this distribution network including customers. Those identified as customers were AWILDA OSORIO, IRIS NIEVES, ISABEL RAMOS, and GERONIMO CANDELARIA.

On February 23, 2001 and thereafter, the defendants listed above and others were arrested on an indictment. Federal search warrants were also executed at the two apartments located in the Old Colony Housing Development, which resulted in the seizure of heroin and heroin processing paraphernalia and over $15,000 in cash. JOSE CRUZ and GERONIMO CANDELARIA were released to in-patient drug treatment programs; the defendants listed above have been detained in federal custody since their arrests.

At the end of the sentencing hearings, Judge Wolf determined that HECTOR B. ARIAS, YOLANDA HERRERA and HECTOR B. ARIAS were responsible for the distribution of up to three kilograms of heroin during the conspiracy. HECTOR A. ARIAS was also determined by Judge Wolf to have played a supervisory role during the conspiracy.

This OCDETF investigation, named Operation Pegasus, involved the use of a wide range of investigative techniques, including the use of undercover purchases of heroin and wiretaps; both aimed at identifying the principle members of this heroin distribution organization. The case was initiated by the Drug Enforcement Administration's New England Field Division Task Force Group 1, which was comprised of members of the DEA; Massachusetts State Police; Boston Police Department, including members of the Boston Police Housing Authority, Cambridge Police Department, Brookline Police Department, Quincy Police Department and Milton Police Department.

A 15th defendant, MAX G. PALENCIA CAMPOS, pleaded guilty in June 2002 and was sentenced on August 19, 2002 to 1 year and 6 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release. A 16th defendant, RAFAEL FELIZ GUEVARA, pleaded guilty in November 2001 and will be sentenced later this year. A 17th defendant, PAULA CRUZ DE OSORIA, was arrested in July 2002 and her case is pending in federal court. Two other defendants: SANDY FELIZ REYES and SIXTO OLMEDO SOTO PIMENTAL have been declared federal fugitives.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael J. Pelgro and Peter Levitt of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit prosecuted this investigation.

Press contact: SA Diane T. Brackett 617-557-2308

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