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Press Release

Dominican National Sentenced for Her Role in Heroin and Fentanyl Trafficking Ring

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

BOSTON – A Dominican national was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for her role in a heroin and fentanyl trafficking ring operating in southeastern Massachusetts.

Maria Elena Ocasio, 57, a Dominican national residing in Providence, R.I., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Ocasio will be subject to deportation upon completion of her sentence. In March 2017, Ocasio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl.

Ocasio was part of a drug trafficking organization led by her brother, Dedwin Cruz-Rivera. Through use of wiretaps and physical surveillance, the investigation established that Cruz-Rivera obtained large quantities of heroin and fentanyl from local drug suppliers, which he distributed in and around Fall River, Mass., and Providence, R.I. Cruz-Rivera and other co-defendants used Ocasio’s apartment to receive and distribute the heroin. Ocasio also purchased small quantities of heroin for distribution.

The investigation culminated with the arrests and charges of Ocasio and 24 others in connection with Cruz-Rivera’s heroin trafficking operation; an April 2016 superseding indictment brought the number of defendants charged in the case to 26.

More than half of the conspirators charged have pleaded guilty, and eight of the defendants have already been sentenced. Cruz-Rivera pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, made the announcement.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Ferguson, Thomas E. Kanwit, Karen Beausey and Ann Taylor of Weinreb’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the cases.

Updated June 6, 2017

Drug Trafficking