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BPD, feds drop other shoe on heroin, fentanyl operations in Boston area

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.

Conley continued:

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.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

Despite the very sad and gruesome content, this is some absolutely comprehensive reporting. I think we sometimes take for granted the amount of effort that grassroots reporting takes... this is why UH is my first source of local news. Instead of a flashy and breathy news segment on TV, I have access to primary sources and other equally well-written articles detailing some pretty heavy stuff concerning this epidemic. Great job, Adam.

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(besides getting these people off the street of course) is the name of the operation. Operation Wolfgang! Bahahaha!

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During the few months ive known about this website ive read articles on deaths of people ive known recently and from way back . Also some of the crime stories are kinda surprising when you know the alleged criminals .. and i mean KNOW them like from middle school days when they had to be home by 7 on the dot . growing up in projects , you expect to know more bad guys than good , but damn .. i hope ( but since its uHub its unlikely ) that you guys who obviously know nothing of whats going on can hold off on the " more scum off the streets " comments for a few. Not all are innocent , but not all are guilty ...

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From my experience reading these federal cases...the feds don't often get it wrong and lock up people who are "not guilty" during these large scale operations.

The wiretaps often glean LOTS of incriminating information, so I would say your acquaintance that you've known since they had to be home at 7 on the dot....is pretty screwed.

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Actually sometimes the feds do get it wrong and those wiretapes can get you caught up for no reason I sat in on a federal drug case of someone I know and the judge clearly told the defendant the only reason why you are in federal court is because you was caught in a federal wiretape if not for that this case would be in district court with possible probation.

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call anyone "scum" though I stand behind wanting high-level distributors off the streets of my community as one major part of what needs to be done to combat the opioid epidemic. I feel for you seeing people you know in the news this way, that's gotta be hard.

I think we can be respectful here, right? After all, it's not the Globe's comments section!

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Please, you wouldn't call anyone 'scum'? Apparently you didn't bury your nephew and Godchild 3 months ago and watch your sister's heart break saying goodbye to her son who struggled through addiction, depression, rehab, addiction and death. 'Scum' is mild.

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Heroin and fentanyl dealers ARE scum. They may have been alright dudes when they were in middle school, but that does not matter. They have grown into criminals that destroy the lives of others.

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and sad at the same time. I've learned of friends death here, friends killing people, both intentional and by accident. You get a little bit of everything.

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It's great to get people like this off the street. I commend the police and feds for their job. Unfortunately that does nothing to dent the addiction and use of these drugs and some new drug dealer will pop up. How about we address this issue with the pharma world, and doctors who a lot of the times are the ones who get these people hooked. And no I am not saying doctor's are bad, but to quote the great BB, 'It is what it is.'

Two, some of these stories over the past few days and weeks have been exceedingly fascinating. Morbid as it sounds it would make for good television. A new age Boston crime drama anyone?

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Any luck on the affidavit for this case? Should be an interesting one.

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Federal cases are SO easy - all that stuff is downloadable via PACER (granted, at 10 cents a page, which adds up, but usually worth it).

State cases, like this one? Ugh, here we are, high tech mecca of the universe and they still make you go into the actual court to look at documents AND they force you (at least in Suffolk County) to use their 25-cents-a-page copier if you want to make copies (tried to use my phone once, one of the people in the clerk's office was on me pretty much instantly yelling to cut that out and use the copier).. Before I start ranting more, no, I haven't gotten down to court to see the affidavit in this case (note: One exception is the Supreme Judicial Court, which posts copies of filings in cases before it).

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Thank you for the clarification Adam!

Are all of the defendants being tried in State court? I thought the "high level traffickers" were being held on Federal charges. Which court would allow me to view the affidavits?

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The one under discussion in this thread were arrested on state charges. The other ones were arrested on federal charges (well, except one guy they swept up who was charged under state law). I'm sure there's a good reason why one ring faces state charges and the other federal, but I didn't ask what that reason is.

The court documents in both cases are public and you can look at them, the difference is where.

If you have a PACER account, you can see the documents in the federal case by looking up the names of one of the defendants ("Deiby Victoria" for example). If you do have a PACER account, get the RECAP plug-in (for Firefox or Chrome), which will let you see at least some of the documents for free.

If you don't have a PACER account, you'll need to go down to the Moakley Courthouse to see them on paper.

I suspect all the people picked up on state charges were arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court, which is behind Center Plaza across from Boston City Hall. "Yohan Gomez" is the name you'll want to look up.

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Thank you for the details Adam! You are such a great informative source for the city. Keep up the splendid work!

We shall stay tuned for the next major raid/drug bust. Aimed at cleaning up our city.

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