For the second time this week, law-enforcement officials say they've broken up a large heroin and fentanyl ring in the Boston area.
Two days after the feds announced some 20 arrests of what they say was a ring run out of Saugus and Roslindale, local law-enforcement officials announced their own heroin-ring bust, centered on Jamaica Plain's violent Mozart Street gang.
Investigators are looking at possible connections between the two drug operations, both of which wholesaled heroin and fentanyl to other dealers in Boston, rather than selling to individual addicts.
Both investigations also relied heavily on telephone wiretaps - involving a series of search warrants that had to be constantly updated as suspicious drug runners ditched their phones.
Some 41 people were charged with conspiracy to traffic in heroin and fentanyl. Some were arrested in raids this morning, some were already in custody on other charges and a few remain at large.
Raids by close to 300 local and state police and federal agents in Boston, Braintree, Brockton, Dedham, Everett, Malden and Quincy resulted in the seizure of ten guns, 5.5 kilos (more than 12 lbs.) of heroin, "a large quantity of fentanyl" and $80,000 in cash, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said at a press conference this afternoon.
Conley said the investigation initially focused on Yohan Gomez, 29, formerly of Roslindale, but currently of Dedham, and an alleged member of the Mozart Street gang. Gomez himself has a lengthy arrest record - and one of his cases went to the Massachusetts Appeals Court when he was arrested on a drug charge even as he was being tried for assault with intent to murder in 2009.
Wiretaps, Conley said, quickly led investigators to more suspects:
[The investigation] soon grew upward to include the individuals we allege were supplying him. Chief among them was Elizabeth Comas, a 26-year-old Hyde Park woman with no criminal record whom we believe is responsible for bringing large quantities of heroin into the US from the Dominican Republic.
The primary targets in this operation were not street-level dealers and runners. They were kilo-weight suppliers at the top of the domestic supply chain.
They ran a violent drug trafficking organization that conducted robberies, shootings, and armed home invasions – including two that were foiled as a result of information gleaned from court-authorized phone intercepts. Evidence suggests that they even placed an aftermarket GPS device on a rival dealer's car, intending to track him, rob him, or worse. These individuals posed a grave threat – not just to their competition but to the lives and safety of the community at large.
Among those arrested: Justin Searcy, 25, of Jamaica Plain, who was out on bail while awaiting trial for his alleged role in a January beatdown at the Green Briar Pub in Brighton Center, in which a group of 20 men rushed into the bar to beat a man with their fists, bottles and chairs.
In addition to Boston Police and the FBI, Watertown Police and a task force of South Shore police departments also participated in the investigation and raids, Conley said.
Text of Conley's remarks on Operation Wolfgang.