Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
BOSTON – A Chelmsford man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to trafficking counterfeit oxycodone and Adderall pills that actually contained fentanyl and methamphetamine.
Vando Gvozdarevic, 29, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 40 grams or more of fentanyl. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Nov. 7, 2022.
“Yesterday, Mr. Gvozdarevic admitted to peddling deadly narcotics – fentanyl and methamphetamine – disguised in the form of counterfeit prescription pills into neighborhoods across New England. He is part of a drug pipeline that profited off of destroying lives, families, and communities,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “That he committed the instant felonies while on probation for similar state crimes is an affront to the overwhelming number of people that adhere to the terms of their probation without incident. This was a lost opportunity for Mr. Gvozdarevic. Probation can assist people with employment opportunities and training. I am committed to working with my law enforcement partners to make sure probationers and the community know all of the employment and advancement opportunities individuals have if they come into contact with the criminal legal system. There are viable options.”
“Convicted felon Vando Gvozdarevic supplied a ruthless gang demonstrating a blatant disregard for the law by distributing counterfeit prescription pills containing methamphetamine and fentanyl while on state probation for similar crimes. Today, he was convicted yet again for his role in a multi-state drug trafficking conspiracy that posed a significant threat to our communities,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “Getting dangerous criminals off the street and dismantling the organized and violent criminal enterprises they belong to is a top priority of the FBI’s North Shore Gang Task Force.”
Gvozdarevic was charged in November 2021 along with 12 others in connection with a large drug conspiracy centering around the Gangster Disciples in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen. The investigation, which began in August 2020, intercepted communications between Gangster Disciples’ leaders, members and drug suppliers pertaining to their alleged distribution of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and suboxone in Massachusetts, Maine and southern New Hampshire as well as into the Essex County Jail. The investigation identified Gvozdarevic as a supplier of methamphetamine and fentanyl disguised as counterfeit Adderall and oxycodone pills. 12,556 counterfeit Adderall pills containing methamphetamine and 3,717 counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl were seized from Gvozdarevic’s apartment during the execution of a federal search warrant.
At the time of his arrest, Gvozdarevic was on probation for drug trafficking and firearm convictions out of Middlesex Superior Court, for which he served a five-year prison sentence.
Gvozdarevic is the third defendant to plead guilty in the case.
The charge of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $10 million. The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
U.S. Attorney Rollins, FBI SAC Bonavolonta and Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by the Chelmsford Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip C. Cheng of Rollins’ Organized Crime & Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN is part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.