Rhode Island Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Role in Nationwide Conspiracy that Trafficked Drugs Hidden in Toy Trucks, Disney Items and Halloween Decorations
BOSTON – A Boston man pleaded guilty today to federal drug and firearm charges arising out of a large-scale seizure of fentanyl and other contraband.
Edgar Belis, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for July 27, 2018.
In 2015, law enforcement identified Belis as a large-scale heroin trafficker in the Boston area. At the time, Belis had been convicted of heroin-related offenses on at least four prior occasions in Massachusetts state court.
In 2016, using a cooperating witness, law enforcement arranged calls with Belis seeking to purchase heroin. During those calls, Belis stated that he had kilogram quantities of heroin to sell, but suggested that the heroin must contain fentanyl or customers on the street would notice a difference. Belis stated that he would be willing to sell heroin or fentanyl for $40,000 per kilogram.
On May 3, 2016, a cooperating witness called Belis and placed an order for two kilograms of heroin. The purchase was set up for three days later. On May 6, 2016, law enforcement surveilled Belis as he drove from Hopkinton to Boston, where he picked up a backpack from a basement apartment. Belis then travelled to a prearranged meeting location in South Boston, where he was met by law enforcement agents. Belis ignored several orders to exit the vehicle and locked himself in the car. Agents broke the car windows and arrested Belis. A search of the backpack in the car resulted in the seizure of approximately 2.35 kilograms of fentanyl and approximately 250 grams of cocaine.
Later that day, agents executed a search warrant at the apartment associated with Belis, and seized an additional 300 grams of fentanyl, approximately 125 grams of cocaine, $57,500 in cash, a Glock Model 22 .40 caliber pistol, and 31 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition.
The charge of distribution of fentanyl and cocaine involving over 400 grams of fentanyl provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine up to $10 million. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. If Belis is determined to be an armed career criminal under federal law, he will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to life in prison. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Albert Angelucci, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans made the announcement today.