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Operation Devil’s Handshake Yields Charges Against 15 for Drug Trafficking and Firearms
SEPTEMBER 14, 2012

Boston – Federal complaints were unsealed yesterday against seven individuals charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Cocaine Base following a two-year investigation dubbed Operation Devil’s Handshake. Additionally, state authorities arrested eight individuals for related drug trafficking offenses.

A total of 15 individuals were arrested early yesterday morning. The charges are the product of a coordinated, joint federal and state investigation into illegal drug trafficking activities in Worcester. Of those arrested, seven have been charged in federal complaints, and eight have been charged by the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.

The following were arrested on federal complaints:

  • Sergio Hernandez, 29, charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. He faces up to life in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million;
  • James Dunston, a/k/a "Speedro", 29, charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. He faces up to life in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million;
  • Richard Cruz, a/k/a “Compi”, 38, charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. He faces up to life in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. (arrested in Puerto Rico);
  • Shawna Gotsis, 26, charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. She faces up to life in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million;
  • Janette Hernandez, 53, charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. She faces up to life in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million;
  • Jeneva Hernandez, 25, charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. She faces up to life in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million;
  • Anthony Wooldridge, 27, charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. He faces up to life in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million;

According to the redacted federal affidavit filed yesterday, the defendants distributed and supplied cocaine and crack cocaine in the Worcester area. Cruz is alleged to have shipped cocaine from Puerto Rico to Sergio Hernandez via the U.S. Mail. The cocaine was disguised in a resealed can of beans. A U.S. Postal Inspector, working with DEA agents, intercepted the parcel before it was delivered in Worcester. A canning machine was recovered from Cruz’s home in Puerto Rico. It is further alleged that a number of these defendants have been convicted of crimes of violence and narcotics felonies and therefore face enhanced sentences.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.; Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin L. Lane of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division; Robert Bethel, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division; and Worcester Police Chief Gary J. Gemme made the announcement today. The following agencies provided assistance in the investigation or arrests of the defendants: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; Massachusetts State Police; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.

The federal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cory S. Flashner, David Hennessy and Mark Grady of Ortiz's Worcester Branch Office. The state cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Sarah Richardson and Terrence Reidy of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.’s Office.

The details contained in the complaint and affidavit are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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For inquires related to the state defendants, please contact Tim Connolly, Communications Director, Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, (508) 368-7236.


 

 

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