23 Arrested for Distributing Heroin and Fentanyl
BOSTON – Twenty-three men and women involved in two drug trafficking organizations operating in Taunton and Boston were arrested and charged today in connection with distributing heroin and fentanyl. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with state and local partners, conducted 12 searches in Fall River, New Bedford, Bridgewater, Boston, Brighton and Providence.
According to court documents, Fernando Rivera-Rodriguez, 31, of Boston and Fernando Hernandez, 42, of Providence, RI, allegedly led drug trafficking organizations in Boston and Taunton, respectively. Rivera-Rodriguez and Hernandez were charged along with 21 others for conspiring to distribute heroin and fentanyl from the summer of 2016 through the present. The defendants were held following initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Boston this afternoon. Yeurvs Tejeda and Carlos Gonzalez-Figueroa remain fugitives at large.
“Today’s arrests will help stem the flow of heroin and fentanyl into our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb. “The defendants in this case knew the drugs that they were distributing were potent and potentially lethal, yet they continued to brazenly ignore the dangers and even expand their reach into Maine.”
“DEA is committed to investigating and dismantling large-scale violent, fentanyl and heroin drug trafficking organizations (DTO), like these operating in the South Coast and Boston area,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson. “As we all know, drug trafficking, along with the gun and physical violence that often accompanies it, is a serious threat to our families and our communities. Those that are suffering from a fentanyl and heroin substance use disorder need treatment and recovery but those that distribute and profit from spreading this poison need to be held accountable. This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative local, state and federal law enforcement efforts in Massachusetts and our strong partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to seek and bring to justice anyone who engages in these crimes.”
“The greater Taunton area has been one of the regions hardest hit by opioid trafficking and overdose deaths,” said Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “We in law enforcement focus long-term interdiction efforts, like this operation, as frontal attacks on the hot zones of heroin and fentanyl trafficking. Today’s efforts by federal, state and local police and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will impact the heroin and fentanyl trade in Bristol County.”
The following are charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl:
Fernando Rivera-Rodriguez, a/k/a Alex, a/k/a Antonio Moraima, 31, of Boston;
Glendalee Rodriguez, 33, of Fall River;
Juan Morales-Ortiz, a/k/a Josiel, 27, of Boston;
Jancer Soto, 25, of Boston;
Jose Camacho, a/k/a Traga, 37, of Boston;
Wilmi Hernandez-Diaz, 21, of Boston;
Yeurys Tejeda, a/k/a Santos, 28, of Boston;
Jose R. Narvaez-Arroyo, a/k/a Pacha, 35, of Boston;
Jeffrey Freitas, 31, of Bridgewater;
Isis Y. Lugo-Guerrero, a/k/a Izzy, 44, of Boston;
Jose Negron, a/k/a Edwin Padilla, a/k/a Luisito Bulto, 36, of Boston;
Malvin Berrios, a/k/a Bori, 34, of Boston;
Roger Longmire, 34, of Taunton;
Stephanie O’Sullivan, 30, of Taunton;
Omar Guzman, 39, of Taunton;
Marisa Ruiz, 32, of Taunton;
John Paul Tanguay, 33, of Taunton;
Daniel Wren, 31, of Taunton;
David Tejeda, 34, of New Bedford;
Fernando Hernandez, a/k/a Mora, 42, of Providence, RI;
Jose Arias, 21, of Providence, RI;
Carlos Miguel Gonzalez-Figueroa, 32, of Providence, RI; and
Crystal Rivera, 30, of Providence, RI.
Hernandez allegedly ran a heroin and fentanyl trafficking organization in Taunton, assisted by Arias, Ruiz, Guzman, and Rivera. The organization sold heroin and fentanyl to customers including Tanguay, Wren, O’Sullivan, and Longmire, who also re-distributed a portion of the drugs. The complaint further alleges that Hernandez obtained drugs from a network of suppliers that included Rivera-Rodriguez and Figueroa.
According to the complaint affidavit, Rivera-Rodriguez operated a drug trafficking organization in Boston, and was assisted by Hernadez-Diaz, Soto, Morales-Ortiz, Rodriguez, Lugo-Guerrero, Negron, Camacho and Yeurys Tejeda. Their customers included David Tejeda, Berrios, and Freitas. The affidavit alleges that Arroyo brokered a kilogram drug deal for Rivera-Rodriguez and that Rivera-Rodriguez and his associates obtained a significant quantity of illegal drugs by robbing other drug traffickers.
A court-authorized wiretap revealed the callous way in which the defendants talked about the deadly effects of the drugs they were distributing. For example, according to the affidavit, Fernando Rivera-Rodriguez, promoted his heroin by telling a drug distributor, that “when you see those people being knocked over . . . you are going to call me back.” The drug distributor did call Rivera-Rodriguez back complaining that the heroin was deadly, saying: “That stuff is not even drug[s]. That is going to kill someone. I think that guy died.” When Rivera-Rodriguez asked, “Did it knock him over?” the distributor said, “I believe so,” and added, “. . . that stuff is that fentanyl. That could kill you.” In response, Rivera-Rodriguez simply said, “Nah, so it’s okay.”
The wiretap also revealed Rivera-Rodriguez boasting about robbing cash and jewelry. For example, Rivera-Rodriguez told Yeurys Tejeda, “We took a little house and we took 13,000 and like three chains, man, and a couple of bracelets, right there in Saugus. And a little while ago, we took another one and took 7,000 from some people also.” Federal agents believe that Rivera-Rodriguez was telling Santos about robbing two houses and stealing over $20,000 in cash and jewelry.
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William Weinreb; Michael Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Fall River Police Chief Daniel S. Racine; New Bedford Police Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro; Taunton Police Chief Edward James Walsh; Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans; and Bristol Country District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Heinrich of Weinreb’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.