Feds Arrest Haverhill, Methuen, North Andover and Lawrence Gang Members for Drug Trafficking

(File photograph.)

Men from Haverhill, Methuen, North Andover and Lawrence are among 13 gang members charged Wednesday for roles in Lawrence-based drug trafficking of fentanyl, cocaine, suboxone and counterfeit prescription pills containing methamphetamine.

Those indicted on conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and 500 grams or more of cocaine and suboxone include 23-year-old Anthony Martinez and 24-year-old Elijah Declet, known as “Evil,” both of Haverhill; 25-year-old Justin Suriel, known as “Chachi,” 27-year-old Nathaniel Infante, known as “Natti,” and 24-year-old Felix Rodriguez, 24, all of Methuen; 24-year-old Steven Rios, known as “Doofy” of North Andover;  35-year-old Jonathan Cruz, known as “Trippy,” and 31-year-old Celino Guzman Cabreja, both of Lawrence; and three others from Brockton and Watertown and Miami, Fla.

Suriel and Rios are also charged with conspiring to kidnap, hold captive and traumatize a victim in retaliation for the suspected theft of Rios’ dog.

Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone praised the cooperation between agencies.

“The Haverhill Police Department is committed to keeping our citizens safe and disrupting violent organized gangs in our community through our valued law enforcement partnerships at the local, state and federal levels, especially the FBI Gang Task Force in this case. These arrests are the result of tireless work by the many dedicated men and women in law enforcement.”

A federal, state and local investigation began in August 2020 and intercepted cellphone communications between leaders, members and drug suppliers of the Gangster Disciples street gang. Investigators found a large multi-object drug conspiracy centering around the Gangster Disciples in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen.

Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell’s office said those arrested distributed fentanyl, cocaine and suboxone with drug trafficking activities extending from Massachusetts into Maine and southern New Hampshire as well as into the Essex County Jail.

Those charged are also allegedly sold methamphetamine disguised as counterfeit Adderall and oxycodone pills. On Wednesday, investigators seized four gallon-sized bags of counterfeit Adderall pills containing methamphetamine, weighing approximately 9.67 pounds. An additional gallon-sized bag of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl was also taken.

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division, said “Our North Shore Gang Task Force has seized their profits and shut down their distribution networks, and we will not hesitate to use every tool we have to stop others like them from threatening the safety our communities.”

Complaints were also filed against Yoel Mercedes of Lawrence and Vando Gvozdarevic, of Chelmsford for drug dealing.

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