Haverhill Police Assistance Leads to Nine Drug Arrests

Haverhill police are among several agencies credited with offering valuable assistance to a three-year federal drug trafficking investigation that yielded nine arrests. (WHAV file photograph)

The Haverhill police department is credited with providing valuable assistance to a three-year federal drug trafficking investigation which led to the arrests of nine people, two of whom pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston earlier this week.

Johnny Urena, 30, of Lawrence, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, and one count of conspiracy to launder money.

Jenssi Astacio, 32, of Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and one count of conspiracy to launder money.

U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled their sentencings for July 24, 2018, and July 31, 2018, respectively.

Urena and Astacio were arrested along with seven others in March 2017 for their roles in a widespread conspiracy involving opioid trafficking and money laundering offenses in Massachusetts and Florida. Their arrests were the result of a three-year federal investigation into opioid trafficking in New England.

From at least 2014, Urena conspired with co-defendants to sell quantities of heroin and/or fentanyl in Massachusetts, and to receive, transport, and distribute large quantities of oxycodone pills shipped from Florida to Massachusetts. Urena then deposited the cash proceeds of drug sales into various funnel bank accounts in order to conceal the nature and ownership of the funds. Astacio shipped - and directed other co-conspirators to ship - large quantities of oxycodone pills from Florida to Massachusetts, negotiated with other co-conspirators the sale of oxycodone pills for redistribution, and directed co-conspirators to use bank accounts to launder the cash proceeds of their illicit sale of drugs.

Co-defendants Darren Infante, Juan Reyes, George Noukas, Moses Rodriguez, Craig Drummond, and Gorky Gonzalez have pleaded guilty. Infante is scheduled to be sentenced on May 23; Reyes’ sentencing is scheduled for June 20; Noukas and Rodriguez are scheduled to be sentenced on June 25; and Drummond and Gonzalez are scheduled to be sentenced on July 17.

The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Methuen and Lawrence are also among the local police departments credited with providing assistance in the investigation.