21 Indicted in Lawrence, Southbridge Areas on Cocaine, Fentanyl Trafficking Conspiracies

Over nine kilograms of cocaine and over 800 grams of fentanyl seized

BOSTON – Twenty-one individuals have been indicted in federal court in Boston in connection with their alleged roles in drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) that distributed cocaine and fentanyl throughout the North Shore and Central Massachusetts.

The following defendants have been charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute various weights of fentanyl and cocaine and for distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine:

  • Jonathan Pizarro Gonzalez, 30, of Southbridge;
  • Isaac Gonzalez, 31, of Southbridge;
  • Ismael Maysonet, 40, of Southbridge;
  • Nataly Vazquez Pizarro, 40, of Southbridge;
  • Jonathan Rivera Otero, 27, of Puerto Rico;
  • Jassiel Ortiz Cardona, 28, of Puerto Rico;
  • Josue Maisonet, 26, of Southbridge;
  • Kimberly Heck, 38, of Southbridge;
  • Edgardo Ramirez, 44, of Southbridge;
  • Jacob Fuentes, 47, of Southbridge;
  • Richard Watts, 27, of Southbridge;
  • Juan Lara Tejada a/k/a “Mayimbe,” 31, of Lawrence;
  • William Torres, 42, of Lawrence;
  • Julio Rivera Morales, 49, of Philadelphia;
  • Hector Luis Torres Rosario, 40, of Lawrence;
  • Leduis Esteves Cabrera, 26, of Lawrence;
  • Deborah Torres, 34, of Lawrence;
  • Clinton Ortiz, 38, of Southbridge;
  • Reinaldo Rosado, 39, of Southbridge;
  • Roberto Lopez, 34, of Southbridge; and
  • Henry Rodriguez-Ruiz, 47, of Southbridge.

“These defendants allegedly engaged in a large-scale criminal enterprise that sought to poison communities in Massachusetts and elsewhere with deadly narcotics. Today’s indictments should send a clear message that drug trafficking organizations operating in our Commonwealth will be rooted out, prosecuted and dismantled,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Those who exploit the vulnerable and pump lethal drugs into our neighborhoods for a profit are not welcome here. My office will stop at nothing to hold those involved accountable. Thanks to the exceptional coordinated work of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, North Shore and Central Massachusetts communities and beyond can rest knowing these alleged criminals have been removed from their neighborhoods. Our efforts will not stop.”

“Illegal drug distribution ravages the very foundations of our families and communities here in Massachusetts,” said Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division. “Let these arrests and seizures serve as an example and be a warning to those who distribute poisons like fentanyl and cocaine, that DEA will aggressively and actively pursue and hold you accountable. This investigation demonstrates the strength and continued commitment of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners here in Massachusetts and our solid relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to preserving the integrity of the U.S. Mail while also protecting our employees and the American public,” said Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division. “Today’s arrests reflect these values and should send a strong message to anyone who would attempt to use the U.S. Mail for illicit gain. This investigation highlights how the U.S. Postal Inspection and our law enforcement partners work together to disrupt Drug Trafficking Organizations that endanger our communities.”

According to the charging documents, investigators identified Jonathan Pizarro Gonzalez and Isaac Gonzalez as the leaders of a Southbridge-based DTO comprised of Vazquez, Maysonet, Maisonet, Fuentes, Ortiz, and Heck, among others, that distributed cocaine and fentanyl to retail customers and to other drug dealers. It is alleged that the DTO regularly used the United States mail to conduct drug trafficking activities. Specifically, the DTO allegedly obtained large quantities of cocaine through packages mailed from Puerto Rico to addresses used by the DTO and mailed packages containing fentanyl to recipients in Florida and elsewhere. Intercepted communications allegedly identified William Torres, Hector Luis Torres Rosario, and Cabrera, among others as Lawrence-based fentanyl distributors who worked to directly supply Gonzalez’s DTO and other distributors with fentanyl. Approximately nine kilograms of cocaine from packages sent through the mail and 800 grams of fentanyl were seized from various DTO members over the course of the investigation.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million.  The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams of cocaine and 40 grams of fentanyl provides a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

U.S. Attorney Rollins, DEA SAC Boyle and USPIS INC Larco-Ward made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the United States Marshals Service, Massachusetts State Police, Southbridge Police Department, Lawrence Police Department, Essex County Sherriff’s Department, and Worcester County Sheriff’s Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Hassink of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

This investigation 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 document are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.