Feds seize enough fentanyl to kill half the state in massive Lawrence-area drug sweep

LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - Dozens of individuals with various criminal backgrounds were arrested Thursday on federal drug, firearms, and immigration charges, as well as state warrants, after authorities say they seized enough fentanyl to kill half the state of Massachusetts.

The sweep, which was part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhood Initiative, netted more than 35 criminals in and around Lawrence, according to United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.

“Lawrence is a clearing house for for illegal drugs pouring into New Hampshire and Maine,” United States Attorney Andrew Lelling said.

Thirteen criminal aliens were arrested by ICE and will be processed for removal from the United States, the attorney’s office said. Nine wanted criminals are said to be still at large, in addition to 14 illegal aliens.

The sweep comes on the heels of a number of federal investigations dubbed “Operation Law and Order,” which the attorney’s office said targeted “impact players and repeat offenders,” all of whom have prior convictions for acts of violence, firearm offenses, and drug trafficking violations.”

Ten kilos of fentanyl was seized as a result of the investigation, which included 200 federal law enforcement agents from across New England.

“Synthetic opiods, like fentanyl, is manufactured death,” officials said.

Last year nearly 2,000 people died of an opiod overdose in Massachusetts. Nationwide, opiods claimed the lives of 72,000.

According to federal officials, taking this amount of drugs off the street is a step in the right direction.

“Every gram of fentanyl or heroin we take off the street is a gram that is not going to contribute to killing somebody,” Lelling said.

Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque said he plans to crack down on drug dealers in the weeks and months ahead.

 

The following defendants were charged in federal court:

1) Johan Abreau, 23, a Dominical national, of Lawrence, charged with various drug offenses, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl
2) Sabrina Aixa Ramos, 27, of Lawrence, charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of fentanyl, two counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of fentanyl and heroin – aiding and abetting
3) Carolina Alonzo, 36, of Lawrence, charged with one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments
4) Oscar Antigua, 37, of Lawrence, charged with the distribution of 40 or more grams of fentanyl
5) Jose Aquino Camilo, a/k/a “Keko,” a/k/a “Kiko,” 39, of Lawrence, charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one kilogram or more of heroin
6) Santo Eulogio Baez-Calbojal, a/k/a “Jamaican Freddy,” 47, of Haverhill, charged with distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl
7) Juan Brito, a/k/a “Juan Bota,” a/k/a “Manual Lugo,” a/k/a “One Eye,” a/k/a “Bolivar Cruz,” a/k/a “Roberto Quinonez-Pomale,” 36, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, currently in state custody, charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one kilogram or more of heroin and one count of unlawful reentry of a deported alien

8) Edilberto Calle-Alvarez, 23, of Lowell, charged with various drug offenses, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl
9) Antonio Camillo, 21, of Lawrence, charged with distribution of and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl
10) Rafael Cintron, 25, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl
11) Carlos Cosme Cuevas, 34, of Lawrence, charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one kilogram or more of heroin
12) Caonabo Cruz, 52, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, charged with possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl
13) Yunior De La Cruz-Zapata, 20, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, currently in state custody, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl
14) Jesus Figueroa , a/k/a “Chuy,” a/k/a “Chuito,” 28, of Lawrence, charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one kilogram or more of heroin
15) Cesar Franco Lara, 34, Dominican national residing in Lawrence, charged with one count of misuse of Social Security number and aggravated identity theft
16) Identity unknown, of Lawrence, charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one kilogram or more of heroin and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments
17) Jose Hernandez, a/k/a “Fatty Mexicano,” 40, of Lawrence, charged with various drug offenses, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl
18) Elvi Lajara, 23, of Lawrence, currently in state custody, charged with various drug offenses, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl
19) Franklyn Laras, 21, of Lawrence, currently in state custody, charged with felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition
20) Sergio Manuel Lara-Suarez, a/k/a “Sergio Manuel Lara-Juarez,” 42, of Lawrence, currently in state custody, was charged with charged with heroin and fentanyl distribution offenses
21) Alan Christopher Pascual Sanchez, 30, a Dominican national formerly residing in Lawrence, currently in ICE custody, charged with one count of illegal reentry
22) Juan Algenis Perez Bernabel, 36, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, charged with drug offenses, including heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine
23) Kadeem Pimentel, 23, of Haverhill, currently in state custody, charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possession of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun
24) Jonathan Platon, 31, of Lawrence, charged with various drug offenses, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl
25) Daniel De Jesus Polonia Morillo, 57, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, charged with one count of false statement on an application for Social Security benefits and aggravated identity theft
26) Manuel Rivera, 35, of Lawrence/Lynn, for a federal probation violation resulting from a felon in possession of a firearm convictions
27) Wilmer Rogue, 22, of Lawrence, currently in state custody, charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm
28) Leonardo Santos, 47, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, charged with a drug offense, specifically cocaine
29) Isua Torres-Pineda, a/k/a “Edwin Carmona,” 26, of Salem, charged with possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl

The following defendants were arrested on state charges:

30) Nick Castillo, 29, a Canadian national, charged with fentanyl conspiracy
31) Celestino Escalera, 24, of Lawrence, for assault to murder – firearm
32) Luis Enrique Herrera, 26, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl
33) Roberto Estrada-Alfaro, 54, of Haverhill, for failure to register as a sex offender
34) Paul Lapointe, 55, of Lawrence, for failure to register as a sex offender
35) Jose Mulero-Nieves, a/k/a “Flaco,” 37, of Methuen, charged with drug offenses

The following defendants, all of whom have prior convictions for offenses ranging from drug distribution to assault and battery, were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations and will be processed administratively:

1) Juan Camilo-Paulino, 51, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence;
2) Lini Castillo-Soto, 22, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence;
3) Anthony Gil Jimenez, 23, a Dominican national residing in Andover;
4) Francis Guerrero Lugo, 37, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence;
5) Eddy Rafael Lara-Suarez, a/k/a “Eddy Lara,” 37, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence;
6) Margarito Manuel Lopez, 35, a Guatemalan national residing in Lawrence;
7) Carlos Martinez, 25, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence;
8) Segundo Maza-Leon, 44, an Ecuadoran national residing in Lawrence;
9) Edwin Pena, 35, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence;
10) Felix Perez-Almonte, 43, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence; and
11) Ramon Soto-Tejeda, 45, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence.

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