Early Wednesday morning, more than 700 officers and federal agents worked across four states and Puerto Rico to bust a large-scale cocaine and heroin trafficking operation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led the bust, with more than 100 state and federal arrests made across Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Puerto Rico.
“Today we have stopped two criminal organizations from bringing significant quantities of heroin and cocaine into our communities in Connecticut and throughout New England,” said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston, according to an ICE press release.
“This case exemplifies how cooperation and strong partnerships have allowed us to focus our resources and respond quickly to uncover and prevent these types of crimes, whether they originate within or outside our borders.” said Steven Hughes, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s New York field office, according to the press release.
Key Criminals Caught
Pedro “Cheito” Rivera, of Groton, Conn., and Luis “Guichan” Zayas of Waterford, Conn., allegedly had cocaine sent to them through U.S. mail among other means of transport. They supplied Frankie Rivera, who used his PR Speedshop business to sell it at the street-level, said authorities.
Rivera also supplied Oscar “Tato” Valentin, who allegedly sold narcotics to customers at his garage in New London, Conn.
Luis Ariel Capellan Maldonado, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, allegedly obtained large quantities of heroin and cocaine from the Dominican Republic, New York, and Rhode Island. He would supply customers with raw heroin, often in quantities of 50–100 grams, operating out of his New London apartment.
Axel “Joelito” Matta Figueroa in Puerto Rico sent Juan “Guinchi” Cheverez in Groton large quantities of cocaine through the mail, said authorities.
Previous to Wednesday’s bust, eight people had been arrested in relation to the operation, and authorities are still investigating.
ICE reports that the majority of suspects arrested by federal agencies face minimum terms of 5–10 years in prison if convicted.