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Press Release

"Boss of Bosses" Sentenced in International Drug Trafficking Operation

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

PROVIDENCE – Juan Valdez, 51, of Milton, Mass., identified in court as the “boss of bosses” of a large scale international drug trafficking operation that repeatedly imported multiple kilograms of heroin and cocaine from Mexico that was distributed to mid-level and street dealers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the FBI.

Juan Valdez, and his brothers Claudio Valdez, 46, and Hector Valdez 45, of Woonsocket, R.I., organized and directed a drug trafficking organization that arranged for numerous multi-kilogram shipments of heroin and cocaine from Mexico to drug stash houses in Cranston and Woonsocket, R.I.  The drugs were then supplied under the Valdez brothers’ direction to mid-level drug dealers and street dealers in the greater Providence and Boston areas and in Hartford, Conn.

According to information presented to the Court, Juan Valdez was the direct point of contact with the main drug supplier for the Valdez Drug Trafficking Organization, a Dominican drug supplier referred to as The Maestro. Valdez spent most days at the organization’s primary stash house in Cranston. He largely controlled the organization’s finances.

At sentencing today, U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., sentenced Juan Valdez to 240 months in federal prison to be followed by 5 years supervised release.

Claudio Valdez was sentenced to 20 years in prison on November 28, 2018. Hector Valdez is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18, 2019.

The Valdez brothers, all Dominican nationals, reentered the country illegally after having been previously convicted of felony drug crimes and deported. Juan Valdez reentered the country illegally on at least four occasions. Immigration detainers have been lodged against all three.

In April 2017, based on information developed by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force during an investigation dubbed “Operation Triple Play,” a reference to the three Valdez brothers, the FBI, assisted by federal, state, and local law enforcement agents and officers in three states, executed 16 federal arrest warrants and 13 federal search warrants.

Court-authorized search warrants executed at the Cranston stash house resulted in the seizure of multiple kilograms of controlled substances, primarily fentanyl; several pounds of cutting agents; and more than $351,000 in cash. The drugs and most of the cash were located in sophisticated, electronically-actuated hides constructed under the flooring of the apartment. Law enforcement also seized more than $8,500 from Juan Valdez’s Milton, Mass., residence.

During the course of Operation Triple Play, which the FBI Safe Streets Task Force launched in September 2016, the investigation into the Valdez Drug Trafficking Operation resulted in the purchases or seizures of laboratory tested and confirmed controlled substances totaling approximately 142g of crack cocaine, 1,654g of cocaine, 3,836g of heroin (of which 2,183.3g contained fentanyl), 3,493g of fentanyl, and more than 137 lbs. (62 kilograms) of cutting agents.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorneys William J. Ferland, Ronald A. Gendron, and Richard W. Rose.

Operation Triple Play is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation initiated by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. Under the direction of the FBI, the participating agencies in this investigation included the Drug Enforcement Administration (Providence and Boston Resident Agencies), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police Department, Woonsocket Police Department, Central Falls Police Department, Cranston Police Department, Warwick Police Department, and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.



Jim Martin
(401) 490-1092

Updated December 14, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 18-165