BOSTON – Thirteen people have been charged in federal court in Boston in connection with a Lawrence-based fentanyl and cocaine conspiracy.
The investigation, which began in May 2018 and intercepted communications on numerous cellphones, revealed that the defendants actively distributed fentanyl and cocaine and that their drug trafficking activities extended throughout Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and Maine.
The following individuals were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams of more of fentanyl and cocaine:
1. Anny Cruz, 37, of Lawrence, Mass.;
2. Jorge Luis Diaz, a/k/a Cosita, 33, a Dominican national residing in Ayden, N.C.;
3. Oliver Alexander Perez Soto, a/k/a Demonio, 45, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, Mass.;
4. Joel Saldana, a/k/a Flaco, 42, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, Mass.;
5. Oscar David Mejia Rodriguez, a/k/a Manguera, 53, a Dominican national residing in Methuen, Mass.;
6. Jorge Ramon Rodriguez Jimenez, a/k/a Cibao, 47, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, Mass.;
7. Junior Rafael De La Rosa, 22, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, Mass.;
8. Rosalba Bernechea a/k/a Rebusera, 19, of Lawrence, Mass.;
9. Elvin Mendoza, 24, of Lawrence, Mass.;
10. James Cann, 55, of Billerica, Mass.;
11. Hector Mejia, a/k/a Tio, 59, of Lawrence, Mass.;
12. Jesus Rojas, 27, of Lawrence, Mass.; and
13. Erick Andres Martinez, 20, of Haverhill, Mass.;
According to the criminal complaint, the investigation revealed that Diaz, Cruz, and Perez Soto led a drug trafficking organization that distributed drugs throughout the Merrimack Valley. Flaco, Mejia Rodriguez, Rodriguez Jimenez, and others were drug sources for this drug trafficking organization. De La Rosa worked at the direction of Rodriguez Jimenez. Bernechea, Mendoza, Cann, Mejia, Rojas, and Martinez worked at the direction of Diaz, Cruz, and Perez Soto distributing fentanyl and cocaine.
Today, agents seized approximately $74,000 cash and approximately four kilograms of suspected fentanyl after executing search warrants across various locations in Billerica, Methuen, Lawrence, and Ayden, N.C.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. 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 Field Division made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by Homeland Security Investigations in Boston and the Andover, Billerica, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, North Andover, Salem (NH), Tewksbury, and Wilmington Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip C. Cheng of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.