You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 16, 2018

Three Dominican Nationals Charged with Drug Trafficking

Investigation resulted in seizure of approximately two kilos of suspected fentanyl

BOSTON – Three Dominican nationals were arrested and charged yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with drug trafficking activities that resulted in seizures of approximately two kilograms of suspected fentanyl.

Wareng Jhonny Villar-Ortiz, 39, Saul Martinez Escarfuller, 31, and Julio Cesar Baez, 49, were charged with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. 

According to court documents, a federal wiretap on phones used by Villar-Ortiz and Martinez Escarfuller revealed that Martinez Escarfuller was supplying drugs to Villar-Ortiz, who then distributed the drugs to various individuals.

During intercepted communications, agents learned that Villar-Ortiz was not satisfied with the quality of certain drugs provided to him by Martinez Escarfuller and wanted to return the drugs to him. On Feb. 14, 2018, Martinez Escarfuller went to Villar-Ortiz’s residence to retrieve the drugs. Agents followed Martinez Escarfuller after he left Villar-Ortiz’s residence, and, a short while later, agents observed Baez exit Martinez Escarfuller’s vehicle and enter into a second vehicle. During a subsequent frisk of Baez, a law enforcement officer observed inside Baez’s coat a large plastic bag, which contained an off-white substance that field-tested positive for the presence of fentanyl. Agents arrested both Baez and Martinez Escarfuller on state charges and seized five cell telephones and $6,000 from Martinez Escarfuller.

Court documents further indicate that on Feb. 15, 2018, agents executed a search of Villar-Ortiz’s residence and seized a kilogram of suspected heroin/fentanyl, a quantity of cocaine, $10,400 in U.S. currency, and other drug-related paraphernalia. 

According to court documents, Villar-Ortiz and Baez entered the United States illegally.

The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. Villar-Ortiz and Baez will be subject to deportation upon completion of their sentences. 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; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans made the announcement today. The Ipswich, Arlington, Somerville, and Medford Police Departments assisted with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James E. Arnold and David J. D’Addio of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit are 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.

 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Component(s): 
Updated March 16, 2018