Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
Two Methuen men are among four individuals charged in connection with running a drug trafficking operation in Massachusetts and New Hampshire involving more than 750 grams of heroin, fentanyl and illegal firearms.
Attorney General Maura Healey said Thursday about $1 million cash was seized during raids Tuesday. The charges are the result of an extensive investigation by the State Police assigned to the attorney general’s office, the State Police Transportation Drug Unit, New England Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of New Hampshire, with assistance from the Lawrence and Methuen Police Departments.
“The opioid epidemic is continuing to devastate communities across our state,” said Healey. “We are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement to tackle this crisis from all fronts, including the disruption of drug trafficking networks that pump pills, heroin and fentanyl onto our streets.”
Marcus Distefano, 28, and Jose Alberto Valero, 29, both of Methuen, were arrested Tuesday night in Methuen and arraigned Wednesday morning in Lawrence District Court on charges of trafficking more than 200 grams of heroin, possession with intent to distribute marijuana (one count each), possession of a firearm without a FID card (two counts each) and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (two counts each). They pleaded not guilty to the charges. Valero was held on $1 million cash bail and Distefano on $100,000. Both defendants are scheduled to appear in Lawrence District Court June 21 for a probable cause hearing.
Also arrested were Andres Lopez-Gomes, 41, of Hazleton, Penn., in Methuen, and Jaime Ramos-Torres, 31, of Lawrence, in Salem, N.H., on federal charges of distributing fentanyl in connection with the trafficking scheme. Ramos-Torres and Lopez-Gomes have been charged by complaint in federal court in New Hampshire with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl. They are both being detained pending further hearings.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office is committed to working with our federal, state, and local partners to investigate and prosecute drug traffickers who are responsible for distributing deadly drugs such as fentanyl,” said Acting United States Attorney for New Hampshire John J. Farley. “I want to thank our partners for their cooperation in this case.”
Using three search warrants at a Methuen and Lawrence address, police seized approximately 750 grams of heroin, two hand guns, ammunition, one car, approximately 35 pounds of marijuana, prescription pills and approximately $1 million in cash.