Two Dominican Nationals Plead Guilty to Fentanyl Conspiracy
BOSTON – Two Dominican nationals pleaded guilty today to their roles in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.
Angel Milciades Santana Polanco, 31, and Julio Cesar Baez, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than 400 grams or more of fentanyl. Baez also pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of more than 400 grams of fentanyl. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled Baez’s sentencing for Jan. 29, 2019, and Santana Polanco’s for Feb. 1, 2019.
According to court records, as part of an ongoing drug trafficking investigation, law enforcement agents intercepted telephones used by Wareng Jhonny Villar-Ortiz, 30, and Saul Martinez Escarfuller, 31, both of whom are also Dominican nationals, and determined that Villar-Ortiz was a mid-level drug distributor and that Martinez Escarfuller delivered a kilogram of drugs to Villar-Ortiz in late January 2018. In February 2018, Villar-Ortiz was dissatisfied with the quality of the drugs and made arrangements for Martinez Escarfuller to take them back. On Feb. 14, 2018, agents observed Martinez Escarfuller exit Villar-Ortiz’s apartment building, get into his car, and drive off. A short while later, Martinez Escarfuller stopped his car, and Baez exited the vehicle and entered a second vehicle. Law enforcement then stopped the second vehicle and seized approximately 789 grams of fentanyl from Baez.
In addition, the investigation revealed that Santana Polanco was typically a distributor for Villar-Ortiz, and that he also tested the quality of drugs received by Villar-Ortiz. Between Feb. 8 and Feb. 12, 2018, agents intercepted communications between Santana Polanco and Villar-Ortiz in which Santana Polanco offered to supply Villar-Ortiz with a kilogram of drugs. Villar-Ortiz took possession of the drugs in order to test the quality before deciding whether to purchase them. On Feb. 15, 2018, Villar-Ortiz reported that the drugs were unacceptable and made arrangements for Santana Polanco to retrieve them. Agents subsequently obtained a search warrant for Villar-Ortiz’s residence and seized 978.6 grams of fentanyl from a hiding spot in the bathroom wall.
Martinez Escarfuller and Villar-Ortiz have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.
The charges of participating in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 400 grams of fentanyl and to possess with intent to distribute at least 400 grams of fentanyl both provide for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $10 million. Santana Polanco and Baez will also face deportation proceedings 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; and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division, made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Boston, Ipswich, and Arlington Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Arnold of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.
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.