Fourteen Indicted in Large-Scale Heroin Trafficking Ring
“Hollywood” and “Donald Trump” stamped heroin connected to overdose deaths
Boston – Fourteen individuals were indicted yesterday in U.S. District Court in Springfield in connection with a large-scale heroin trafficking organization that was supplied by sources in the Dominican Republic and New York.
Thirteen men and one woman from Springfield, Mass. and Bronx, NY were indicted on conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin. On Sept. 22, 2016, all of the following individuals, with the exception of Carlos Sierra (aka Rivera) who remains a fugitive at large, were arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with conspiring to distribute heroin:
- Alberto Marte, 31, of Springfield;
- Marcos Pena, 29, of Springfield;
- Julian Declet, 32, of Springfield;
- Jiovanni Rodriguez, 29, of Springfield;
- Jose Miguel Ramos, 36, of Springfield;
- Pablo Rosario, 32, of Bronx, NY;
- Carlos Sierra (aka Rivera), 40, of Springfield (fugitive);
- Mirelvy Vasquez, 26, of Springfield;
- Diolfi Antonio Marte Vasquez, 25, of Springfield;
- Anthony Patino, 31, of Springfield;
- Juan Perez, 29, of Springfield;
- Eduardo Ferndandez, 38, of Hazelton, Penn.;
- Anyuly Tavarez, 30, of Springfield; and
- William Brantley, 45, of Springfield.
“The devastating impact of the heroin epidemic is evident by the lives it cuts short and the families it touches.,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “By combining federal, state and local resources, we can stem the flow of heroin into Massachusetts’ and stop the deadly and damaging impact it has on our communities.”
“Here in western Massachusetts, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are successfully working together to combat the opioid crisis,” said Hampden County District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni. “This investigation shows that we will hold accountable those who seek to profit from addiction by selling and trafficking drugs on our streets and in our neighborhoods. I thank United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz and our federal partners for bringing these indictments forward.”
“DEA is addressing the threat of heroin and fentanyl, both internationally and domestically. We prioritize our resources by identifying, targeting and destroying these extremely violent and very organized cartels,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson. “DEA and its law enforcement partners have effectively dismantled the command and control elements as well as the distribution network in New England and the Dominican Republic that are responsible for putting this poison on the streets of Springfield and Chicopee as well as throughout New England.”
According to court documents, Alberto Marte, the head of a drug trafficking organization, had direct contact with heroin supply sources in the Dominican Republic. On a monthly basis, members of the organization transported between eight and 20 kilograms of heroin to the Springfield area. The organization then packaged the heroin and distributed it using a variety of stamps, including “Donald Trump” and “Hollywood.” The Hollywood brand of heroin has been associated with a number of overdose deaths in western New England that occurred in late 2015 and early 2016. During the course of the investigation, more than five kilos of heroin was seized by federal agents.
This case was brought as part of the federal response to the growing opioid abuse epidemic in Massachusetts and other New England states. Heroin is highly addictive, and users can quickly develop a tolerance, prompting them to seek higher potencies and greater quantities of the narcotic. Between 2000 and 2014, opioid overdose deaths have more than tripled with a spike in recent years in Massachusetts.
“The indictments handed down in this investigation charge a violent criminal group allegedly responsible for flooding western Massachusetts with a highly-addictive and often lethal form of heroin,” said Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “Working alongside our law enforcement partners, HSI will continue to use its unique authorities to ensure this poison and those who peddle it are removed from our communities.”
“The Springfield Police Department continues to work with its local, state and federal partners to address criminality and quality of life issues for the residents of Springfield,” said Commissioner John Barbieri. “We are fortunate to have the invaluable assistance of our partners in this collaborative effort.”
“I would like to offer my gratitude to the DEA, and all agencies involved in this operation,” said Chicopee Police Chief William Jebb. “Once again, this shows that by working as a cohesive unit, sharing information, and sharing together, major operations such as this come to a successful conclusion. This eight month-long investigation resulted in the arrest of 13 individuals, over three kilos of heroin, eight firearms and thousands of dollars. Our city has unfortunately seen too many overdoses, and deaths, from heroin. Because of the efforts of all involved, this dangerous drug was kept off of our streets, and resulted in many lives saved.”
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 1000 grams or more of heroin provides for a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $350,000. The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $55,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; District Attorney Gulluni; DEA SAC Ferguson; HSI SAC Etre; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Springfield Police Commissioner Barbieri; Chicopee Police Chief Jebb; Holyoke Police Chief James Neiswanger; and West Springfield Police Chief Ronald Campurciani, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Desroches of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.