Melrose Police Department

Wiretap Investigation Leads to Arrests in Large Scale Drug Distribution Operation

THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

MIDDLESEX DISTRICT ATTORNEY

15 COMMONWEALTH AVE. WOBURN, MA 01801

Tel: 781-897-8300

Fax: 781-897-8301

For immediate release: June 7, 2017

For more information: (781) 897- 8325

Wiretap Investigation Leads to Arrests in Large Scale Drug Distribution Operation

Seven People Arrested; Cocaine, Guns and Marijuana Seized in Massachusetts and Texas

WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, Massachusetts State Police Colonel Richard McKeon and Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie have announced that six people in Massachusetts and one man in Texas have been arrested in connection with a large scale cocaine distribution operation involving the shipment of drugs to Massachusetts from Texas. The investigation stemmed from a tip following a motor vehicle stop in south Texas.  The interstate operation involved drugs imported from Mexico into Texas and then shipped to Massachusetts.  The arrests were made as a result of an extensive wiretap investigation led by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police assigned to that office, as well as the Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit and Everett Police.

Based on information discovered as a result of the Middlesex County wiretap investigation, south Texas law enforcement agencies in Mission, Texas, took an individual identified as Leonel Castaneda into custody early this morning.  Upon the execution of a search warrant at a residence occupied by Castaneda, investigators found packaging material and items used in the interstate drug distribution operation. The preliminary investigation suggests that Castaneda was allegedly involved in exporting bulk uncut cocaine to communities in Massachusetts in exchange for large amounts of cash.

Prior to the arrest of one of the defendants, his home in Everett was the site of multiple firearms-related incidents, including shots fired.

“As a direct result of this far reaching investigation, our office was able to disrupt a multi-state drug operation involving the shipment of hundreds of thousands of dollars of narcotics to Massachusetts. By targeting dealers, we are able to focus our resources on those who supply dangerous drugs and help stop the flow of these lethal drugs into our communities and across our borders.  These arrests demonstrate the value of collaborative work involving multiple law enforcement agencies. Narcotics distributors, even those outside of Massachusetts, are on notice that we will take whatever steps are necessary to protect Middlesex residents,” said District Attorney Marian Ryan.

It is alleged that the shipment of drugs that was seized on Friday, June 2, 2017, contained approximately two kilograms of uncut cocaine.  Once cut for distribution, the total value of the seized cocaine would be well over a hundred thousand dollars.  Cocaine is now particularly dangerous because it is commonly cut with the lethal drugs Fentanyl and Carfentanil.  Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

“I commend the excellent work of our troopers assigned to the Middlesex County Detective Unit and our State Police Gang Unit, as well as that of Middlesex District Attorney Ryan and her office, Everett Police, and our law enforcement partners in Texas,” Colonel McKeon said. “This investigation and the resulting arrests affirm the value that court-authorized wire intercepts provide in certain cases, including those involving wide-ranging criminal networks.”

“This is a quality joint investigation that will have a positive impact in and around the Greater Boston area,” said Chief Mazzie.

In the fall of 2016, investigators assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police and the Everett Police Department, initiated an investigation into an alleged large scale drug operation centered in Everett and surrounding Middlesex County communities.  As part of the investigation, the District Attorney’s Office and State Police obtained court-authorized wiretaps on phones allegedly connected to shipments of cocaine coming into Middlesex County from out of state.

Based on information intercepted during the wiretap investigation, investigators successfully intercepted a package of cocaine at a UPS facility which was scheduled to be delivered to an alias used by the defendants. That package contained two kilograms of uncut cocaine packaged inside automobile parts and masked in apparent transmission fluid in an effort to evade drug detection efforts.

On the morning of Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Massachusetts State Police, in cooperation with local law enforcement, simultaneously executed search warrants at five locations in the communities of Everett, Melrose, Chelsea, Lynn and Revere, suspected to be involved in the alleged drug distribution operation.

Police also seized approximately three pounds of marijuana and scales and packaging materials consistent with drug distribution, two firearms (a fully loaded .357 Magnum, a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun), approximately 200 grams of a suspected cutting agent, and approximately $6,000 in cash. As part of this investigation, a total of more than $40,000 in drug proceeds were seized. In addition to weapons, contraband and cash, as part of the operation, police also seized five automobiles that were allegedly used for drug distribution and transportation.

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officials estimate that the defendants imported more than a dozen packages of suspected narcotics from September of 2016 through June 2017.

As a result of the execution of the search warrant, the following five individuals were arrested:

Jorge Delgado-Rivera, 39, of Melrose was arrested in Melrose and has been charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine over 200 grams and trafficking cocaine over 200 grams. Delgado-Rivera was arraigned yesterday in Malden District Court.  Judge Cesar Archilla ordered the defendant held on $150,000 cash bail.  If the defendant posts the cash bail, he will be subject to house arrest and GPS monitoring. The defendant’s bail was subsequently revoked on an open case. The next court date in this case is July 5, 2017.

Jairo Salado-Ayala, 36, of Lynn, was arrested in Lynn and has been charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine over 200 grams and trafficking cocaine over 200 grams.  Salado-Ayala was arraigned yesterday in Malden District Court.  Judge Cesar Archilla ordered that the defendant be held on $100,000 cash bail. If the defendant posts the bail, he will be subject to house arrest and GPS monitoring.  The next court date in this case is July 5, 2017.

Maritza Medina, 39, of Melrose was arrested in Melrose and has been charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine over 200 grams.  The defendant was arraigned yesterday in Malden District Court and Judge Cesar Archilla ordered the defendant held on $20,000 cash bail. If the defendant posts the cash bail, he will be subject to house arrest and GPS monitoring.  The next court date in this case is July 5, 2017.

“I am extremely proud of the Melrose Police Department, in particular the detective bureau. Under the command of Sgt. Paul McNamara, officers executed these arrests in the City of Melrose without incident,” Melrose Police Chief Michael Lyle said. “This was a coordinated effort by multiple jurisdictions that has impacted the illegal drug supply to this region.”

Juan Gabriel Cruz G’Arriga, 19, of Puerto Rico was arrested in Lynn and has been charged with trafficking cocaine over 200 grams, improper storage of a firearm and possession of a firearm without a license. He was arraigned yesterday in Lynn District Court.  Judge James LaMothe ordered the defendant held on $100,000 bail. The next court date in this case is June 28, 2017.

Alex Cordero, 24 of Chelsea was arrested in Chelsea and has been charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He was arraigned yesterday in Chelsea District Court. Judge Ina Howard-Hogan ordered the defendant held on $250 cash bail.  The next court date in this case is July 27, 2017.

Jose A. Rivera Azbino, 34, of Puerto Rico was arrested in Lynn and has been charged with trafficking cocaine over 200 grams, improper storage of a firearm and possession of a firearm without a license. He was arraigned yesterday in Lynn District Court. Judge James LaMothe ordered held on $100,000 cash bail. The next court date in this case is June 28, 2017.

This is an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police, Everett Police and Texas Authorities with assistance from the Essex District Attorney’s Office. Local police from Chelsea, Everett, Melrose, Lynn and Revere assisted in the execution of yesterday’s search warrant and the subsequent arrests.

These charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The prosecutors assigned to this case are Assistant District Attorneys Graham Van Epps, Michael Klunder and Will Freeman.

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