Police Break Up Massive Drug Trafficking Operation That Ran From Providence To Massachusetts
Providence law enforcement reported at a press conference yesterday that they have dismantled a drug ring that was trafficking heroin and fentanyl from Rhode Island to Massachusetts. In all, 36 are being charged for their connection to “Operation Stop the Flow.”After a 10-month investigation, the drug trafficking ring was cracked by use of wiretaps between sellers and buyers.
Included are six Rhode Island residents were are accusing of running the operation, as well as 30 buyers who were transporting the drugs to Fall River, Massachusetts and surrounding areas, then re-selling them at up to three times the cost. Police stated that most of the buyers were men and women from southeastern New England, including Fall River, New Bedford, Swansea, Taunton, Westport, and Tiverton, R.I.
Also, law enforcement confiscated over one kilo of fentanyl and heroin, $65,000 in case, a 9 millimeter Walther PPX semi-automatic firearm with live rounds, and other drug and firearm paraphernalia.
The operation was a profitable one for the Rhode Island dealers, who were said be doubling their money on the drugs. Fentanyl is often used by dealers because the profit margin is very high – it’s cheap and easy to make, and a little bit goes a long way. The buyers, who came in Rhode Island, bought bricks of heroin and resold them back in Massachusetts for triple the price.
Clements said the following about New England law enforcement:
“[We] will not stop. We will be aggressive. We will proactively target drug dealers, the people poisoning our communities.”
Assistant Atty. Gen. Stacey Veroni noted that Rhode Island is fifth in the nation regarding opioid overdoses, and 57% of deaths last year were related to fentanyl.
The investigation included East Providence Police, Massachusetts State Police, the Bristol County (Mass.) District Attorney’s Office, the Fall River Police, and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office. Providence police intelligence detectives were led by Sgt. Nicholas.
It was funded by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI loaned Providence law enforcement wiretap equipment to listen and record calls between buyers and sellers. They collected hundreds of hours of surveillance.
Three Rhode Islanders were apprehended and arraigned on multiple counts of drug trafficking, including the ring’s head leader, Johan Jimenez, 26, of Providence, Mario Hernandez, of Cranston, Yosiel Rondon-Vargas, 19, also of Providence. Are all being held without bail.
Jimenez is also facing gun charges, and his girlfriend Yohanna C. Sanchez, 35, was also arrested during the raid and she is also being charged with gun and drug crimes.
Also arrested were a married couple who was said to have bagged heroin at their residence in Providence – Edwin V. Perez, 42, and Ana C. Perez, 29, who are both being held on multiple counts of drug dealing.
All in all, fourteen people are being charged with three counts of conspiracy of possession with intent to deliver heroin, five people are charged with two counts of conspiracy of possession with intent to deliver heroin, and ten are charged with one count of conspiracy of possession with intent to deliver heroin, and one woman is charged with three counts of soliciting another to commit a crime.
You can see the entire list of suspects here.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology