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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2005

TEN PERSONS ARRESTED ON FEDERAL HEROIN TRAFFICKING CHARGES

Boston, MA... Ten persons from New Bedford, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island have been arrested on a federal Complaint charging them with conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Carl K. Moniz, Chief of the New Bedford Police Department; Paul Walsh, Bristol County District Attorney; and Colonel Thomas G. Robbins Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, announced today that the ten individuals were arrested last night and early this morning in a series of coordinated raids at nine residences in Providence and New Bedford. All of the defendants will be appearing in federal court in Boston later today. The ten defendants are:

1. JOSE MORALES, a/k/a “Melvin,” a/k/a “Gordo,” age 41, of 52 Nancy Street, Providence, RI;

2. WILFREDO OFARRILL, a/k/a “Jose Luis Figueroa-Ramos,” a/k/a “Nelson,” a/k/a “Sonny,” age 36, of 105 Dora Street in Providence, RI;

3. DIXON PEREZ, a/k/a “Mario,” age 35, of 105 Mitchell Street, Providence, RI;

4. JOSE NICHOLSON, a/k/a “Jaiba,” age 21, of 108 Mitchell Street, Providence, RI;

5. ROBERT MEDEIROS, a/k/a “Bobby,” age 32, of 74 Ellen Street, New Bedford, MA;

6. MIGUEL CASADO, a/k/a “Chulo,” age 38, of 16 Lisbon Street, Providence, RI;

7. HERMAN M. MELO, age 30, of 235 Belleville Road, New Bedford, MA;

8. BRIAN P. KEENAN, age 29, of 120 Florence Street, New Bedford, MA;

9. DAVID R. ROSONINA, age 33, of 341 Orchard Street, New Bedford, MA; and

10. WILFREDO TORRES, a/k/a “Willow,” age 37, of 54 Spruce Street, New Bedford, MA;

The federal Complaint, unsealed today, charges the defendants with participating in a conspiracy from at least July 2004 through the present to distribute heroin in New Bedford and other areas of Massachusetts as well as in Providence, Rhode Island. The Complaint further alleges that the defendants were responsible for the distribution of over one kilogram of heroin during the conspiracy.

According to an affidavit on filed in support of the Complaint, MORALES supplied large quantities of heroin to OFARRILL and operated heroin “stash” locations at several residences in Providence, including 12-14 Violet Street. It is alleged that OFARRILL was a heroin trafficker who sold heroin to numerous customers in the New Bedford area and who operated heroin “stash” locations at several residences in Providence, including 16 Lisbon Street and 20 ½ Peach Avenue. CASADO is alleged to have been a worker employed by OFARRILL to store quantities of heroin and to deliver heroin to customers.

During the course of the investigation, in the summer and fall of 2004, DEA undercover agents made eleven purchases of heroin from OFARRILL in and around New Bedford. On each occasion, OFARRILL negotiated the sales over the telephone with the undercover agents and then sent PEREZ, NICHOLSON or MEDEIROS to deliver the heroin to the undercover agents and to collect the purchase money from the agents.

Beginning in early February 2005, DEA obtained court-authorized wiretaps on cellular telephones used by OFARRILL and MORALES to conduct their heroin business in New Bedford and Providence. This enabled federal investigators to learn how the businesses were operated on a daily basis and to ascertain the locations where heroin was usually stored. In addition, federal investigators heard and observed deliveries of heroin to regular customers, including MELO, KEENAN, ROSONINA and TORRES who then resold the heroin to their own customers.

DEA agents intercepted hundreds of telephone conversations detailing various facets of these ongoing heroin businesses. In one such conversation, intercepted on March 15, 2005, OFARRILL was overheard speaking to MELO about a heroin customer named “Porky” who had been provided with heroin and who had then died in a bathroom. In another conversation, intercepted on March 1, 2005, OFARRILL was heard talking to CASADO about using “rat poison” to cut or dilute the heroin.

“Heroin is a fatally dangerous drug that ruins lives and communities,” stated U.S. Attorney Sullivan. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working cooperatively with federal, state and local partners to pool resources and intensely target drug distribution networks. It is our goal to make the streets of our cities and towns safe from drug dealers and the crimes that often accompany drug activity.”

“Today in New Bedford drug trafficking organizations are on notice that we have your number. We will infiltrate your groups, we will follow your movements and we will put you in prison. You will not be allowed to operate with impunity in our communities,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Trouville. “The success of this operation is the direct result of law enforcement cooperation and the investigation will not stop with today’s arrests.”

“This is the direct result of the strong partnerships we have developed with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies,” stated New Bedford Mayor Frederick M. Kalisz, Jr. “Let me be clear - this kind of aggressive law enforcement, crossing all boundaries, will continue until we’ve rid our streets of illegal drugs and those who perpetrate drug related crimes.”

If convicted on this charge, each defendant faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment up to life in prison, to be followed by at least 5 years of supervised release, and a $4 million fine.

The investigation was led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New Bedford and Providence and its task force members: the New Bedford Police Department, the Providence Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the Fall River Police Department, the Taunton Police Department, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department, and the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil J. Gallagher and Lisa Asiaf in Sullivan’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit.

The details contained in the Complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

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