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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Drug Trafficking Kingpin Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

One of three brothers to admit to running a three-state heroin & cocaine distribution operation

PROVIDENCE - One of three brothers who admitted to running a large scale heroin and cocaine trafficking operation in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison.

Claudio Valdez, 46, of Woonsocket, and his brothers, Hector Valdez 45, of Woonsocket, and Juan Valdez, 51, of Milton, Mass., previously pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence, admitting that they arranged for several multi-kilogram shipments of heroin and cocaine from Mexico to drug stash houses in Cranston and Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The Valdez brothers then oversaw the distribution of the drugs to mid-level drug dealers and street dealers in the greater Providence and greater Boston areas and in Hartford, Connecticut.

Juan Valdez is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14, 2018. Hector Valdez is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18, 2019.

The three men, Dominican nationals, reentered the country illegally after having been previously convicted of felony drug crimes and deported. Immigration detainers have been lodged against all three.

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

As stipulated in a plea agreement filed with the Court, both the government and the defense recommended the Court impose a sentence of 240 months of incarceration. The U.S. Sentencing Guideline imprisonment range in this matter is 324 months to 405 months.

Claudio Valdez’s sentence is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Division of the FBI.

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 15 federal arrest warrants and 13 search warrants. Immigration detainers were lodged against 9 of the defendants charged in this matter, identified as Dominican nationals, most of which were living in the United States with what are alleged to be stolen identities.

During the course of the investigation that began in September 2016, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force seized nearly 3.5 kilograms of fentanyl, nearly 4 kilograms of heroin - most of which was laced with fentanyl, more than 1.6 kilograms of cocaine, 142 grams of crack cocaine, more than 137 pounds of cutting agents, $45,500 in cash and 9 vehicles. 5 of the vehicles had hidden compartments used for transporting drugs and money.

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.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Immigration
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
18-154
Updated November 30, 2018