Two Boston Men Arrested, Arraigned in Connection with Trafficking Heroin
More than 130 Grams of Heroin Seized
BOSTON – Two Boston men have been arrested and arraigned in connection with trafficking heroin after search warrants were executed in Dorchester and Roxbury and more than 130 grams of heroin were seized, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Jose Vargas, age 32, of South Boston, and Luis Rodriguez, age 32, of Roxbury, were arrested last Thursday by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office and the Boston Police Department’s South Boston Drug Control Unit.
“My office is committed to combatting heroin use and opioid abuse on multiple fronts, including law enforcement action. Heroin-related deaths are increasing at an alarming rate and opioid abuse is devastating families across the state,” said AG Healey. “We will hold accountable those who traffic these lethal drugs and help feed the epidemic felt across our communities.”
“These arrests come after a meticulous and thorough investigation into the illegal selling of heroin in the neighborhoods of Boston,” said Commissioner William Evans. “I want to acknowledge the great collaboration between the BPD Drug Control Unit, the Mass State Police and the Office of the Attorney General for all their work in this case.”
Vargas was arraigned in Roxbury District Court on Friday on the charges of Trafficking in Heroin over 100 Grams, Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Law, and Drug Violation Near a School. Bail was set at $35,000 cash.
Rodriguez was arraigned in Roxbury District Court on Friday on the charges of Trafficking in Heroin over 18 Grams, Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Law, and Drug Violation Near a School. Bail was set at $20,000 cash.
If either of the defendants posts bail, they must surrender their passports and be monitored by GPS. They are both due back in Roxbury District Court on May 18.
In March, the State Police and the BPD began a joint investigation into heroin allegedly being sold in the South Boston area.
Authorities executed search warrants last Thursday and seized more than 130 grams of heroin in total. Approximately 105 grams of heroin were found in Vargas’ stash house in Dorchester and approximately 33 grams of heroin were found in Rodriquez’s residence in Roxbury. Authorities allege that Rodriguez acted as a drug runner for Vargas, who managed the drug distribution operation.
This investigation remains ongoing.
Shortly before taking office, Attorney General Maura Healey announced the formation of an internal AG’s task force to more aggressively combat the heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health estimates that in 2013, 978 people in the state died from opioid-related overdoses, up from 668 deaths the previous year. In 2012, opioid-related deaths outnumbered gun-related deaths by nearly three-fold and in 2013 opioid-related deaths exceeded deaths caused by car accidents by more than double.
AG Healey has vowed to use a multi-faceted approach to improve the prescription monitoring program, educate prescribers, pursue illegal drug traffickers and pill mills, and expand access to recovery and treatment programs.
This spring, AG Healey participated in the Governor’s Opioid Addiction Working Group Listening Tour, which provided an opportunity to gather feedback from the community and ideas on how to halt the opioid epidemic.
In February, AG Healey met with family members who are grappling with a loved one’s addiction at a roundtable discussion hosted by Learn to Cope, a statewide family support organization.
In January, the AG’s Office arrested and charged Naman Spencer for his involvement in an alleged scheme to use fraudulent prescriptions to illegally obtain Oxycodone tablets.
The AG’s Office discovered Spencer’s alleged illegal activities through their investigation into Vincent Leo, who was indicted on more than 100 counts of prescription and credit card fraud and identity theft in November 2014. Leo allegedly created hundreds of fraudulent prescriptions in order to obtain oxycodone tablets.
The charges against Vargas and Rodriguez are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Marina Moriarty, of AG Healey’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, with assistance from State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, the Boston Police Department’s South Boston Drug Control Unit, and the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab.