A former Dorchester resident now living in Quincy expected to trade 60 grams of fentanyl for four handguns from Florida yesterday but instead found himself arrested by ATF agents and Quincy Police because his trading partner had turned informant in the hopes of reducing his own sentence for his role in gun trafficking in another jurisdiction, according to court records unsealed in US District Court in Boston today.
Caesar Ross, 39, now faces federal charges of illegal possession of distribution of fentanyl and being a felon in possession of firearms.
Federal law makes it illegal for anybody convicted of a felony to possess guns. According to an affidavit by an ATF agent on the case, Ross was convicted in 2018 for distribution of a Class A drug in Dorchester Municipal Court and sentenced to a year in jail, five years after he was convicted in Suffolk Superior Court for distribution and possession of cocaine, and sentenced to 2 1/2 years and a day in state prison.
According to the affidavit, Ross and others had been under federal watch since March, 2022 for firearms trafficking and drug violations. The informant was picked to try to snare Ross after he told agents that between May and October of 2020, he had driven 29 guns with obliterated serial numbers from Florida to Boston, which he would sell to Ross for fentanyl. According to the affidavit, most of the guns remain on the street; only three have been seized by law enforcement.
Under the guidance of ATF agents, the informant contacted Ross on Aug. 12 of this year to try to set up a deal, the affidavit states. On Aug. 24, the affidavit continues, Ross called the informant, who told him he had been "working with a friend at gun shows" and had "some good firearms" for his trading partner. Ross told him he'd have to offer him less fentanyl because the price he was paying for the drug had gone up. The informant countered that he "got better quality [guns]" from his friend at the gun shows. The informant said he was hoping to drive up to Boston between Sept. 5 and 7. Ross said they'd talk again.
On Aug. 29, the affidavit states, the two did again:
ROSS communicated that in the past he used to trade 80 grams of fentanyl to CW-1 for the firearms. ROSS indicated that the price has changed and he will now trade the firearms to CW-1 [the informant]for 50 or 60 grams of fentanyl. CW-1 indicated that CW-1 has four firearms to trade.
The two talked several times more, agreed on a deal and, on Monday, the informant let Ross know he'd be in Boston the next day. Ross directed him to Smith Street in Quincy, around the corner from his home on Arthur Street.
Agents wired the informant up and he drove over for the trade with Ross with "four real firearms that had been rendered inoperable," packed in "a maroon drawstring bag, wrapped up in a sweatshirt and a t-shirt" around 3:30 p.m. yesterday.
He parked in a lot on Arthur Street, then called Ross, who arrived not long after.
CW-1 sat in the driver's seat, and ROSS sat in the front passenger seat. CW-1 took the firearms out of the maroon bag, unwrapped them, and showed them to ROSS. CW-1 and ROSS then both re- wrapped the firearms, and CW-1 placed them back in the bag and handed ROSS the bag containing the firearms. ROSS held the bag on his lap. ROSS handed a bag containing two large knots of a tan/white powder to CW-1. CW-1 told ROSS (falsely, at the direction of agents) that CW-1 had ammunition for the firearms in the back seat, and exited the driver's seat as if to retrieve the ammunition. ROSS also opened the passenger door and exited the passenger's seat, holding the bag containing the firearms and starting to take it with him.
As CW-1 and ROSS exited the vehicle, agents drove up behind them. ROSS saw the vehicles coming towards him, called out, "Police!" and threw the bag containing the firearms back in the car on the passenger side and ran in the direction of his residence. Agents gave chase and were able to place ROSS under arrest. In a search incident to arrest, agents located an identification card in the name of Caesar ROSS; the photograph on the card depicted the individual that agents placed under arrest. Agents also seized ROSS's cell phone. Agents called the Target Telephone Number, and the phone that had been on ROSS's person rang.
After Ross was in custody, the informant handed over two "knots" of suspected fentanyl that Ross had given him:
Agents placed the suspected fentanyl on a digital scale, and the scale registered a weight of 66.4 grams including packaging. Agents conducted a field test of the suspected fentanyl using a TruNarc Raman Spectrometer. The substance tested positive for the presumptive presence of fentanyl. The fentanyl was transported to the Quincy Police Department to be logged into evidence, pending transportation to a drug laboratory for further analysis.