BOSTON – Thirty-two individuals were arrested on federal and state drug and gun charges and 79 illegal firearms, including assault weapons, were seized from multiple locations near Lawrence, Massachusetts, in a joint local, state and federal investigation that included U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Boston.
HSI Boston acting Special Agent In Charge Jason J. Molina joined U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling, Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI, Boston Field Division, Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, and Lawrence, Mass. Police Chief Roy P. Vasque in announcing the results of the operation at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. federal court building in Boston Nov. 15.
More than 70 federal, state and local law enforcement officers carried out the arrests of individuals alleged to have sold a large number of firearms and a variety of controlled substances, including fentanyl, heroin and cocaine. Eighteen of the 32 defendants are alleged to be members or associates of the Trinitarios, a notorious Dominican street gang based near Lawrence, Massachusetts, a city outside of Boston that consists of a large population of residents originally from the Dominican Republic.
Depending on the drug quantity, the federal drug trafficking conspiracy and distribution charges provide a sentence of up to 20 years, 40 years, or life in prison; a minimum of three, four or five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release; and fines of $1 million, $5 million and $10 million. The federal firearms charges provide for sentences of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The statutory maximum penalties for unlicensed firearms dealing and being a felon in possession of firearms or ammunition is 10 years in federal prison. A conviction on a conspiracy charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
Law enforcement agencies assisting in the investigation included the FBI Boston, the FBI’s North Shore Gang Task Force, the Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections and the Lawrence Police Department. Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett provided assistance with the investigation. The Office of U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew E. Lelling is prosecuting the federal defendants arrested in this investigation.