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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ten Charged with Trafficking Heroin/Fentanyl

Joint federal and state investigation led to charges

BOSTON – Three Lawrence men and a Leominster man were arrested today and charged in federal court in Worcester in connection with a joint federal and state investigation targeting narcotics trafficking in central Massachusetts. Six additional defendants were charged by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office with state drug offenses.

Carlos Rodriguez, 42; Ernesto Rodriguez, 48; and Joshua Sanchez, 27, all of Lawrence, and Jorge Burgos, 39, of Leominster, were charged today with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute in excess of 100 grams of heroin and fentanyl, possession with the intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, and use of a telecommunications facility in furtherance of narcotics trafficking. Sanchez and Burgos appeared in federal court in Worcester today and were ordered detained pending a detention hearing on Feb. 16, 2018. Carlos and Ernesto Rodriguez will appear in federal court in Worcester tomorrow.

According to court documents, as a result of various wiretaps capturing the defendants’ discussions of sales and purchases of heroin/fentanyl, in November and December 2017, law enforcement agents conducted surveillance of Burgos purchasing heroin for resale from Carlos Rodriguez, Ernesto Rodriguez, and others. In addition, on Dec. 19, 2017, law enforcement stopped Sanchez after he left Carlos Rodriguez’s home and found Sanchez in possession of approximately 60 grams of suspected heroin/fentanyl. The following day, after intercepted communications suggested that Carlos Rodriguez would be delivering 50 grams of heroin to Burgos at his residence in Leominster, agents conducted a vehicle stop of the vehicle Carlos Rodriguez was driving and recovered approximately 50 grams of suspected heroin and/or fentanyl. Further investigation led to the recovery of at least 100 additional grams of suspected heroin and fentanyl from Ernesto Rodriguez. It is further alleged that intercepted communications captured Carlos Rodriguez discussing with Burgos how agents had stopped him on the way to Burgos’ residence and captured him discussing with another individual where to hide a firearm from authorities.

Additional intercepts of Burgos’ phone on Dec. 27, 2017, included discussions that agents believed to relate to a number of firearms hidden on Burgos’ property. 

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office charged six additional individuals associated with the investigation with state crimes. Jose Ortiz, 57; Roberto Ortiz 58; and Gilberto Victoriano 51, all of Worcester, were each charged with two counts of distribution of heroin and two counts of conspiracy to violate the drug laws. Additionally, the Ortiz brothers were charged with one count each of possession of heroin with intent to distribute. Roberto Ortiz and Victoriano face up to two and a half years in the House of Correction. Jose Ortiz faces at least three and a half years and up to 15 years in state prison. Caroline Cartagena, 43, of Worcester, was charged with one count of trafficking in over 200 grams of cocaine. She faces a minimum of 12 years and up to 20 years in state prison. Tina Murphy, 40, of Shirley, was charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl and one count of conspiracy to violate the drug laws. Murphy faces no greater than two and a half years in the House of Correction. The remaining defendant is still at-large.

The charge of conspiring to distribute in excess of 100 grams of heroin provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million. The charge of possession of heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of use of a telecommunications device in furtherance of a narcotics offense provides for a sentence of no greater than four years in prison, up to one year 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.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Raymond Moss, Acting Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service; Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent; Leominster Interim Police Chief Michael Goldman; Milford Police Chief Thomas J. O’Loughlin; and Leicester Police Chief James J. Hurley made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

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.

Drug Trafficking
Updated February 8, 2018