BOSTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Marshalls, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Oct. 4, to announce the arrests of dozens of defendants in a multi-agency federal investigation in and around the Lawrence, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.
The operation, which resulted in 40 arrests and resulted in the seizure of 10 kilograms of deadly fentanyl, was the culmination of a multi-agency federal investigation which targeted major traffickers of fentanyl, opioids and other drugs, as well as repeat felony offenders, many of whom were also illegally present in the U.S.; eight aliens had already previously been deported at least once before and will be prosecuted for criminal re-entry. All of those arrested have prior convictions for acts of violence, firearm offenses and/or drug trafficking; and many were determined to be illegally present in the United States.
The operation involved over 200 federal law enforcement agents from all over New England, including the DEA, ERO, HSI, FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service; and the ATF.
“ERO is dedicated to removing the foreign criminal element that is directly contributing to the overwhelming number of overdoses related to the opioid epidemic in this state and throughout this region.” said Todd M. Lyons, acting field office director for ERO Boston. “No sanctuary should be given to a criminal alien who has actively taken part in hurting the people of New England.”
Fitzhugh and Lyons joined United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling along with Brian D. Boyle, special agent in charge of the DEA, New England Division, Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI, Boston Field Division, United States Marshal John Gibbons of the District of Massachusetts and Mickey D. Leadingham, special agent in charge of the ATF Boston. During the investigations, law enforcement officers bought or seized approximately 10 kilos of fentanyl. The federal cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Organized Crime and Gang Unit, Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit, and the Major Crimes Unit. The state cases are being prosecuted by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office. Arrests made by ICE will be handled in immigration court.