Dominican National Sentenced for Distributing Kilo of Heroin

BOSTON – A Dominican national was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for his role in two separate heroin trafficking rings operating in southeastern Massachusetts. 

Francis Gonsalez-Romero, a/k/a Sam, 41, a Dominican national residing in Providence, R.I., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Gonsalez-Romero will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence.  On Feb. 28, 2017, Gonsalez-Romero pleaded guilty in two separate cases, a 2012 charge for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, and a 2015 charge for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl.  

The first indictment was returned on July 9, 2012, and was the product of a federal wiretap investigation.  The investigation included the interception of a cellular telephone used by Gonsalez-Romero.  Based on the investigation, Gonsalez-Romero supplied significant quantities of heroin to co-defendant Jose Rosa, who arranged for the heroin to be distributed to customers in the Taunton, Mass., area. Gonsalez-Romero’s four co-defendants were arrested in July 2012, but federal investigators were unable to locate Gonsalez-Romero, who remained a fugitive.  All four co-defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three years to 87 months.

 The 2015 indictment was the product of a long-term federal investigation that established that Gonsalez-Romero was part of a drug trafficking organization led by his brother, Dedwin Cruz-Rivera.  Cruz-Rivera allegedly obtained large quantities of heroin and fentanyl from local drug suppliers, including Gonsalez-Romero and his brother Manuel Romero-Gonsalez, which was distributed in and around Fall River and Providence, R.I. 

The investigation culminated with the arrests and charges of Gonsalez-Romero and 24 others in connection with Cruz-Rivera’s heroin trafficking operation; an April 2016 superseding indictment brought the number of defendants charged in the case to 26.  More than half of the defendants charged in the Cruz-Rivera operation have pleaded guilty, and nine of the defendants have already been sentenced. Cruz-Rivera pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Investigators used DNA evidence to confirm Gonsalez-Romero was the same individual charged in the 2012 indictment. Overall, Gonsalez-Romero was responsible for the distribution of more than a kilogram of heroin.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, made the announcement.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Ferguson, Thomas E. Kanwit, Karen Beausey, Ann Taylor, and Linda M. Ricci of Weinreb’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the cases.