Lawrence, Haverhill Area Raids Net Over 10 kilograms of cocaine and $200K cash seized during investigation
BOSTON – Twenty-one individuals have been charged in connection with a large-scale drug trafficking conspiracy involving cocaine, fentanyl and other controlled substances with activity that spanned across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine and Puerto Rico.
According to the charging documents, in May 2020, law enforcement began investigating a Lawrence-based drug trafficking organization (DTO). Since December 2020, intercepted communications between members of the DTO and their associates revealed that the defendants allegedly distributed fentanyl and cocaine in and around the Lawrence area.
The following defendants were arrested today and charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine and other controlled substances:
- Joseph Correa, 31, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Jose Martinez, a/k/a “Bebo,” 28, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Luis Martinez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass. and Manchester, N.H.;
- Alberto Marrero, a/k/a “Gordo,” 40, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Madeline Correa-Dones, 50, of Caguas, P.R.;
- Mavi Rosario, 30, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Sonvi Rosario, 31, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Fauris Guerrero Valdez, a/k/a “Duro,” 25, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Luis Perez Frias, 20, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Freddy Reyes Concepcion, a/k/a Franchve Gonzalez Irizarry, 49, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Alex Rafael Hernandez Mercedes, 36, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Felipe Martinez, 59, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Elvis DeJesus, 30, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- William Rivadeneira, 28, of Haverhill, Mass.;
- Gregorit Sanchez, 27, of Haverhill, Mass.;
- Jeremy Eaton, 25, of Lunenburg, Mass.;
- Nestor Emilio Olaverria Fuster, a/k/a Pablo Pizarro-Rosa, a/k/a “Chiquitin,” 58, of Lawrence, Mass.;
- Othoniel Lara Gonzalez, a/k/a “Jose Ramirez,” a/k/a “Anibal Pena,” a/k/a “Chirpa,” 52, of Lawrence, Mass.; and
- Zacharia Mohamed, 26, of South Portland, Maine.
Victor Ramon Melendez, 33, of Norwich, Conn. remains at large.
Pablo Rosario Pablo a/k/a “Angel Ayala Roque” a/k/a “Cuco,” 56, of Methuen, Mass., was also arrested today and charged in a separate criminal complaint with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
It is alleged that the DTO is headed by Correa, who sold drugs in both wholesale and retail quantities and employed couriers and stash house operators to store and distribute drugs, including the mother of his children and her sister. Correa allegedly obtained fentanyl locally and obtained cocaine from suppliers in Puerto Rico.
Specifically, it is alleged that Correa, Jose Martinez and Luis Martinez are half-brothers and regularly travelled to Puerto Rico to purchase kilograms of cocaine. They and Correa-Dones, their mother, would then mail the drugs in packages to addresses in New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Over the course of the investigation, approximately 7.5 kilograms of cocaine was seized from packages mailed from Puerto Rico to the defendants. In total, over 10.5 kilograms of cocaine, approximately 650 grams of suspected fentanyl and approximately $201,681 in drug proceeds were seized over the course of the investigation.
According to the charging documents, Sanchez was a Correctional Officer with the Middleton House of Correction in Middleton, Mass. Sanchez allegedly helped DeJesus obtain a contraband cellphone while DeJesus was being held in the Middleton House of Correction after being arrested on state firearms charges.
It is further alleged that on Nov. 11, 2021, Sanchez attempted to smuggle a package containing fentanyl, cocaine and Suboxone into the Middleton House of Correction for DeJesus. The package was seized as Sanchez was arriving for work.
Rivadeneira was allegedly employed by DeJesus and Martinez to assist with distribution of fentanyl and cocaine. According to the charging documents, DeJesus scolded Rivadeneira on an intercepted call for not wearing a mask when working with fentanyl, and warned Rivadeneira, “[Y]ou can get an overdose.”
The charges of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, cocaine and other controlled substances, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $100. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Office, made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Lawrence Police Department; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Massachusetts State Police; Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Essex County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Ferguson, Acting Chief of Mendell’s Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit, is prosecuting the case.
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.