Press Release

Press Release Eighteen Individuals Indicted on Opioid Trafficking Charges Following Largest Drug Takedown in AG’s Office History

For immediate release:
10/01/2019
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for Eighteen Individuals Indicted on Opioid Trafficking Charges Following Largest Drug Takedown in AG’s Office History

Meggie Quackenbush

BostonFollowing a major takedown of a heroin/fentanyl trafficking operation in Methuen and Lawrence in June, 18 people have been indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

The defendants have been charged in connection with the largest opioid trafficking operation takedown in the history of the Massachusetts AG’s Office that resulted from an extensive federal, state, and local investigation. AG Healey announced in June that during the investigation, authorities seized more than 25 kilograms of heroin/fentanyl and cocaine, four firearms, and nearly $100,000 in cash.

These 12 individuals were arrested and arraigned in June and indicted on September 25 by an Essex Grand Jury on the following charges:

Ramon Cruz-Gonzalez, 45, of Lawrence
Trafficking Heroin, Over 100 Grams (Two Counts)
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (Four Counts)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (Two Counts)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 100 Grams
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 36 Grams
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 200 Grams
Possession of a Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of Ammo (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Israel Santiago Ortiz (aka “Simpson”), 39, of Methuen
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (Four Counts)

Trafficking Heroin, Over 100 Grams (Two Counts)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Possession of Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of Ammo (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Alberto Santana Santos, 36, of Lawrence
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (Two Counts)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 200 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 200 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Methamphetamine, Over 200 Grams (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class A Substance – Ketamine (One Count)
Possession of Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of Ammo (One Count)
Possession of a Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Robinson Adames Abreu (aka “Papa”), 52, of Methuen 
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (Four Counts)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 200 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (Two Counts)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 18 Grams (Six Counts)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 18 Grams (One Count)
Distribution of a Class A Substance – Heroin (One Count)
Distribution of a Class A Substance – Heroin/Fentanyl (Three Counts)
Distribution of a Class B Substance – Fentanyl (Six Counts)
Distribution of a Class B Substance – Cocaine (Three Counts)
Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class A Substance – Ketamine (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class A Substance – Heroin (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Jose Lugo-Garcia, 21, of Lawrence
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 200 Grams (One Count)
Distribution of a Class A Substance – Heroin/Fentanyl (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class A Substance – Fentanyl (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Raul Martinez, 32, of Lawrence
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 200 Grams (One Count)
Distribution of a Class A Substance – Heroin/Fentanyl (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Omar Acevedo (aka “Prieto”), 37, of Methuen
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (Two Counts)

Trafficking Heroin, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class B Substance – Cocaine (One Count)
Possession of a Firearm (Three Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Firearm During a Felony (Three Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of Ammo (Two Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Jhonny Mota-Rodriguez, 24, of Lawrence
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Distribution of a Class A Substance – Heroin/Fentanyl (Two Counts)
Distribution of a Class B Substance – Cocaine (Two Counts)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Cirio Delores Acevedo, 36, of Lawrence
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)


Yeltsin De La Cruz, 28, of Lawrence
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (One Count)

Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Sulerka Mercado, 37, of Methuen
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (Two Counts)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class B Substance – Cocaine (One Count)
Possession of a Firearm (One Count)
Possession of Ammo (One Count)
Possession of a Firearm During a Felony (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Jason Emery, 43, of Lawrence
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (One Count)
Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class A Substance – Heroin (One Count)

Jocheiry Acevedo Hernandez, 31, of Methuen
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (Three Counts)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 100 Grams (Two Counts)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Possession of Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm During Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of Ammo (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Maricely Carrion Ramos, 34, of Lawrence
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Jocheiry Acevedo Hernandez and Maricely Carrion Ramos were also indicted last week in Middlesex Superior Court and were charged with one count each of Trafficking Cocaine, Over 200 Grams. They will be arraigned on those charges September 30.

Four additional individuals were also indicted by the Essex County Grand Jury September 25 in connection with this trafficking operation:

Nelson Galan, 43, of Lawrence       
Trafficking Fentanyl, Over 10 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Heroin, Over 36 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 200 Grams (One Count)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 100 Grams (One Count)
Possession of a Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm (Two Counts)
Possession of a Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm During a Felony (Two Counts)
Possession of Ammo (One Count)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Nelson Rivera, 40, of Lawrence      
Trafficking Heroin, Over 18 Grams (Three Counts)
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 18 Grams (One Count)
Distribution of a Class A Drug – Heroin (One Count)
Distribution of a Class B Drug – Fentanyl (Four Counts)
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)

Sandra Gomez, 37, of Lawrence    
Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws (One Count)
Accessory to a Crime After the Fact (One Count)

Michael Figueroa, 45, of Haverhill
Trafficking Cocaine, Over 200 Grams (One Count)

These charges are the result of an extensive investigation involving AG Healey’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crime Division, the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and the Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team (CINRET), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Methuen and Woburn Police Departments, and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. 

Authorities executed search warrants at 14 locations in Methuen and Lawrence on June 19 that resulted in the seizure of several kilos total of fentanyl/heroin and cocaine; four firearms, including a loaded Ruger semi-automatic handgun, two .22 caliber handguns, one .45 Glock, and several rounds of ammunition; and $98,860 in cash. The investigation began in 2017 and culminated in the June takedown after months of undercover operations and cutting-edge surveillance of a sophisticated drug distribution enterprise with connections to other networks in the northeast and managed by traffickers as far away as New Jersey.

This investigation is ongoing. These charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The AG’s Office has been working closely with its federal, state and local partners to combat illegal drug trafficking. AG Healey formed a Fentanyl Strike Force to more aggressively combat the heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis in New England. In October 2018, the Office announced the Fentanyl Strike Force had been awarded a nearly $3 million grant to expand its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and disrupt drug and fentanyl trafficking throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gina Masotta of the AG’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crimes Division, Criminal Bureau Chief Gina Kwon, Investigator Sallyann Nelligan, Director of the AG’s Financial Investigations Division, and the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab.

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Media Contact for Eighteen Individuals Indicted on Opioid Trafficking Charges Following Largest Drug Takedown in AG’s Office History

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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