Eight Charged with Conspiring to Distribute Fentanyl and Cocaine and Money Laundering Conspiracy
Defendants allegedly tied to Mexican drug trafficking organization
BOSTON – Eight people were charged in federal court in Boston in connection with an investigation into a Boston-based fentanyl and cocaine trafficking and money laundering organization.
According to charging documents, a year-long wiretap investigation revealed that the defendants, who were directly connected to a poly-drug trafficking organization operating in Mexico, were actively distributing fentanyl and cocaine and laundering drug proceeds on behalf of a Mexican organization.
“All eyes have been on the COVID pandemic, but the opioid epidemic continues to kill thousands of people in Massachusetts each year,” said Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell. “Prosecuting drug traffickers who profit off of addiction and desperation is essential to save lives, protect the vulnerable and make communities safer. On behalf of all our federal partners, I would like to acknowledge the exceptional work of the Massachusetts State Police in this case. Their investigative skills and commitment to teamwork made this result possible.”
“DEA is committed to investigating and dismantling large-scale poly drug trafficking organizations like this one operating throughout the Northeast,” said Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division. “This organization was allegedly responsible for the distribution of multi kilogram shipments of fentanyl and cocaine on behalf of their Mexican sources of supply. 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.”
“This case disrupted a Boston-based drug trafficking organization with direct ties to a Mexican cartel that allegedly distributed dangerous drugs like fentanyl and cocaine in our communities and conspired to launder their proceeds in an effort to conceal what they were doing,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Investigations like this prove the essential value of strong partnerships among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and the importance of working together to dismantle criminal enterprises that profit from flooding our streets with illicit drugs.”
“As alleged, these arrests represent the dismantlement of a transnational criminal organization that profited from flooding the streets with dangerous narcotics,” said William S. Walker, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, Boston. “The apprehensions in this investigation could only have occurred through the tireless efforts and close cooperation of many local, state and federal law enforcement partners throughout the region. HSI Boston is grateful to all of these partners and to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts for their dedication to bringing these defendants, whose alleged crimes have damaged countless lives in New England, to justice.”
“Much of the illegal narcotics trade in Massachusetts is sourced by drugs coming from other countries, and a comprehensive narcotics interdiction strategy must target not just the local street-level dealers at the end of the chain, but also those with ties to the international source,” said Colonel Christopher S. Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “As shown by these charges, this operation was successful in doing just that and deals a blow to this particular pipeline of fentanyl and cocaine from Mexico into the Boston area. I commend the federal, state and local officers whose hard work produced these excellent results.”
The following individuals were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and cocaine and conspiracy to launder money:
1. Cesar Alejandro Castro Pujols, a Dominican national residing in Milton, Mass.;
2. Andre Heraux Martinez, a Dominican national residing in Hyde Park, Mass.;
3. Fermin Castillo, residing in Mexico;
4. Saturnino Guerrero, a Dominican national residing in Roxbury, Mass.;
5. Kevin Carmona Victorino, of Dorchester, Mass.; and
6. Kevin Hayes, of Centerville, Mass.
Castro, Heraux, Castillo, Guerrero and Carmona were also charged with conspiracy to launder money, along with:
7. Songfeng Chen, a Chinese national residing in Quincy, Mass.; and
8. Chi Ying, a Chinese national residing in Malden, Mass.
According to the criminal complaint, investigators intercepted phone communications by various members of a Massachusetts-based drug cell that was being supplied with large quantities of fentanyl and cocaine by a Mexican drug trafficking organization. It is alleged that Castro, the leader of a Massachusetts-based drug cell, coordinated directly with Mexico-based drug suppliers to obtain and distribute drugs and to launder drug proceeds. Heraux and Carmona assisted Castro in distributing drugs and laundering drug proceeds. Castro allegedly supplied fentanyl and cocaine to Guerrero, who distributed those drugs to his own customer base. It is further alleged that Chin and Ying worked for money laundering organizations that laundered drug proceeds on behalf of the Mexican organization.
On March 23, 2021, investigators seized approximately 17 kilograms of fentanyl, approximately $220,000 in U.S. currency and three vehicles, including a Porsche while executing search warrants in Boston, Malden, Quincy, Milton and Centerville.
In August 2020, 18 additional defendants involved in this operation were charged with drug trafficking offenses.
To date, this investigation has resulted in charges against 26 defendants and the seizure of 55.5 kilograms of fentanyl, 24 kilograms of cocaine, 500 fentanyl pills and approximately $1,470,000 in cash and real assets.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. The charge of conspiracy to launder money provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney Mendell, DEA SAC Boyle, FBI Boston SAC Bonavolonta, HSI Boston Acting SAC Walker and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Mason made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Boston Field Division; the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; Boston Police Department; Barnstable Police Department; and the Suffolk and Plymouth County Sheriff Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah B. Foley of Mendell’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation and was investigated by the Boston OCDETF Strike Force. 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.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.