Twelve Individuals Charged in Taunton Heroin Ring
BOSTON – A dozen individuals were charged yesterday following a lengthy law enforcement investigation into a Taunton-based heroin distribution ring.
Four Taunton residents were arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin in connection with the heroin distribution ring: Eddyberto Mejia Ramos, 22, aka “Chi Chi”; Luis Iraola, 21; Maria Ramos, 43; and Edwin Montalvo, 26, aka “Poncho.” Also arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin were Saul Sanchez Rolon, aka “Fino,” and Kerem Mendez Luz, 35, of Providence, R.I.; Antwuun Jones, 23, of Fall River; Shakur Russell, 22, of Bridgewater; Darius Jones, 23, of Taunton; and Anthony Burt, 23, and Kayla Wentworth, 24, both of Wareham, Fall River and Taunton. The twelfth defendant, Jean Wharf, 40, of Carver, was arrested and charged in a related complaint with using a telephone to facilitate a drug transaction. Yesterday’s arrests follow the July 6-7, 2015, arrests of Luis Guzman, 22; Mercedes Cabral, 24; and Oristel Soto-Peguero, 22, all of Norwood; and the March 16, 2015, arrest of Manuel Luis Sanquintin, 33, aka Alex, of Boston, all in connection with the same heroin distribution ring.
The charges came as a result of a lengthy investigation, during which law enforcement officers observed Mejia Ramos sell heroin to a cooperating witness on several occasions in fall 2014, and uncovered the organizational makeup of Mejia Ramos’ organization through court authorized wiretaps from January through July of this year.
The charging documents allege that Mejia Ramos operated a retail heroin trafficking organization out of his mother’s house at 187 Winthrop Street in Taunton. The charging documents further allege that Mejia Ramos’ mother, Maria Ramos, periodically assisted her son in distributing heroin. According to court documents, Mejia Ramos purchased large quantities of heroin from several wholesale suppliers, including Soto-Peguero and Sanquintin, along with Sanchez Rolon and Mendez Luz. After receiving these large heroin packages, Mejia Ramos and his mid-level associates, including Jones, Iraola, and Montalvo, then allegedly distributed the heroin to lower level distributors and customers, including Burt, Wentworth, Russell, and Wharf.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute heroin provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, supervised release of three years and up to a lifetime, and a fine of $1 million. The charge against Wharf, of using a telephone to facilitate a drug transaction, provides for a sentence of no greater than four years in prison, two years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; Taunton Police Chief Edward J. Walsh; and Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn, made the announcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Heinrich of Ortiz’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit.
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 the court of law.