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Press Release

Dominican National Arrested and Charged with Fentanyl Conspiracy Including the Distribution of Counterfeit Pain Pills

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Dominican national was arrested and charged today in federal court in Boston with crimes relating to his role in a wide-ranging narcotics trafficking operation that included distributing counterfeit prescription pain pills containing fentanyl throughout Boston and Cape Cod.


Santiago Pena, 49, a Dominican national residing in Roxbury, was charged by indictment with conspiracy to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl. The charge stems from Pena’s participation in a large-scale fentanyl and heroin trafficking ring that was dismantled in August 2017. Pena is the seventh defendant related to the drug trafficking operation to be charged in federal court; approximately 10 other defendants have been charged in state court.   


According to court documents, a lengthy wiretap investigation revealed that James Ramirez, an individual charged separately, supplied large-quantities of fentanyl and heroin to Kevin and Alex Fraga, drug dealers on Cape Cod. Ramirez also sold fentanyl pills designed to look like legitimate prescription oxycodone pills. Wiretap intercepts revealed that Ramirez was distributing fentanyl pills in batches of 100 to numerous other drug dealers, and over 2,500 fentanyl pills were recovered as a result of Ramirez’s arrest in late August.


According to the indictment, Pena brokered fentanyl pill deals on Ramirez’s behalf, helping to connect Ramirez with a fentanyl pill supplier. On multiple occasions, Ramirez traded used cars for a combination of cash and fentanyl pills in deals that Pena helped arrange.


Alex Fraga, Kevin Fraga, and Ramirez each pleaded guilty in November. Their sentencings are scheduled for Feb. 8, 2018, Jan 24, 2018, and March 8, 2018, respectively


Pena faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, a minimum of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million.  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 D. Weinreb; Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe made the announcement today. The investigation was led by the DEA Cape Cod Resident Office and the Massachusetts State Police - Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Brewster, Harwich, Sandwich, Mashpee, Chatham, Yarmouth, and Barnstable Police Departments and the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen of Weinreb’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.

Updated December 20, 2017

Drug Trafficking