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Press Release

Mashpee Wampanoag Member Sentenced for Role in Heroin Trafficking Organization

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

BOSTON – A member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for his role in a wide-ranging heroin trafficking conspiracy.

Joshua Johnson, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to time served plus an additional two weeks (for a total of approximately 13 months) in prison and three years of supervised release. On March 11, 2021, Johnson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin.

In May 2019, Johnson and 10 co-defendants were arrested and charged with various drug distribution offenses.

According to court documents, in 2019, law enforcement began investigating a Cape Cod drug trafficking organization, allegedly led by Edwin Otero. It is alleged that Otero and his co-conspirators distributed large quantities of heroin throughout Cape Cod, including Hyannis, Mashpee, Centerville and Osterville as well as Pawtucket, R.I. Interceptions from Otero’s phone identified Johnson as a drug trafficker supplied by Otero. In addition to moving sizeable quantities of heroin, the investigation revealed that members of the Otero crew allegedly shot at a drug customer over an unpaid debt and videotaped themselves beating another man they incorrectly believed had provided information to the police.

Johnson is the second defendant to be sentenced in this case and the fourth to have pleaded guilty. The remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty and are pending trial.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; and Barnstable Police Chief Matthew K. Sonnabend made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Pohl and Lauren Graber of Mendell’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the case. 

This effort 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

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.

Updated August 10, 2021

Drug Trafficking