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Lawrence brothers focus of two drug raids

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

April 26. 2018 7:11AM
DEA agent Jon DeLena speaks at a news conference about a fentanyl bust at federal court in Concord on Wednesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



4/25/18--DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER--United States Attorney Scott Murray a fentanyl bust at federal court in Concord on Wednesday.

CONCORD — A massive drug-dealing network based in Lawrence, Mass., distributed between 33 and 77 pounds of fentanyl a month throughout the Merrimack River Valley, according to federal officials, who on Wednesday announced the arrest of 45 people in connection with the operation.

The network was allegedly run by two brothers from Lawrence — Sergio and Raulin Martinez. It involved dispatchers who took orders over customer phones and forwarded orders to distributors; the network regularly supplied them with seven-ounce bags of fentanyl, according to information filed in U.S. District Court.

Scott Murray, the recently named U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire, announced the arrests at a news conference that featured state police from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, local police from several communities in the two states, and federal agents that enforce drug, immigration and customs laws.

“If you are a drug dealer doing business in this state, whether from Lawrence, Massachusetts, or beyond, know the federal government is watching you,” Murray said.

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig speaks at a press conference about a fentanyl bust at federal court in Concord on Wednesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Much of the focus was on Lawrence, where the Martinez brothers live, as well as 18 of the other 45 people charged in connection with the conspiracy; some are not yet in custody.

Lawrence police were noticeably absent from the lineup of police officials at the news conference. Murray said the investigation had enough resources and did not need to involve Lawrence police. The city has been frequently cited as a source for fentanyl and heroin in the Granite State.

An email sent Wednesday afternoon to Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque was not returned.

“We try to work with everybody. That’s one thing the DEA does, work with everybody,” said Jon DeLena, the assistant special DEA agent in charge in New Hampshire. He stressed that some Lawrence police officers work with the DEA task force for the region.

A wave of arrests and police raids took place on April 9, and authorities seized more than 66 pounds of suspected fentanyl, more than $500,000 in cash and two firearms.

On April 18, there was a second wave of arrests; it involved 13 New Hampshire residents. They live in Greater Manchester, Berlin, Rochester, Groveton, Belmont, North Haverhill and Hampton.

Murray said he believes fentanyl is now harder to obtain in New Hampshire communities as a result of the arrests. He said several of the suspects come from the Dominican Republic. Some entered the country legally; others illegally, Murray said.

In court papers filed regarding bail, prosecutors say that Sergio Martinez is the leader of the conspiracy and claimed to have distributed 33 to 77 pounds of fentanyl a month over several years.

“The conspiracy was extensive and organized,” the filing reads.

The Martinez brothers maintained a residence in Lawrence, nicknamed “the base," which was staffed by dispatchers who took drug orders. The dispatchers communicated with distributors, located throughout the Merrimack Valley. They arranged the actual sale, according to a summation of the investigation released by Murray.

The distributors were constantly supplied with seven-ounce quantities of fentanyl; they were to sell it and return $6,000 to the Martinez brothers. They frequently hired their own runners to make street-level transactions.

“During the investigation, there was significant evidence of violence, including two shootings involving distributors working for the organization, multiple robberies, various threats and seizure of firearms,” court filings say.

The suspects rounded up in the first wave of arrests — including the Martinez brothers — face mandatory minimum prison sentences of 10 years and fines of up to $10 million. Most of those arrested in the New Hampshire will face either five- or 10-year minimum sentences.


Charged in the Raids
NEW HAMPSHIRE RESIDENTS
  • • Leon Mandigo, 31, Auburn 
  • • Jason Cheever, 41, Goffstown
  • • Joshua Smith, 29, Plaistow 
  • • Meghan Bowers, 30, Candia
  • • Dennis Chaney, 30, Rochester
  • • David Fagan, 32, Manchester
  • • Jonathan Felch, 36, Goffstown
  • • Albert Gordon, 44, Manchester
  • • Norman Limoges, 51, Berlin
  • • Robert McLain, 26, Groveton
  • • Alicia Morin, 30, Belmont
  • • Samuel Morris, 28, Belmont
  • • Amy Reardon, 32, North Haverhill
  • • Darlene Tirone, 42, Hampton
  • • Meredith Willey, 37, Groveton
MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS
  • • Jhonny Jose Naut Perez, 53, Lawrence
  • • Frailin Manuel Gomez Gil, 26, Lawrence
  • • “Linet” (last and first name unknown)
  • • Sergio Martinez, 28, Lawrence
  • • Raulin Martinez, 36, Lawrence
  • • Luz Perez DeMartinez, 25, Lawrence
  • • Jepherson Emmanuel Cabrera, 18, Lawrence
  • • Edward Brailey Delacruz, 24, Methuen 
  • • Alexander Noonan, 20, Haverhill 
  • • Suhey Perez, 38, Lawrence
  • • Wagner Pimentel, 28, Methuen
  • • Luis Angel Polanco Huma, 22, Lawrence
  • • Eduard Amparo, 46, Lawrence
  • • Julio Pizzini, 24, Lawrence
  • • Luis Antonio Salomon Polanco, 20, Lawrence
  • • Juan Rafael Tejeda-Jimenez, 27, Lawrence
  • • Fernand V. Miranda, 23, Haverhill
  • • Steven Guerrero, 18, Lawrence
  • • Jared Ortega-Peguero, 25, Lawrence
  • • Juan Dimel Gil Castillo, 23, Lawrence
  • • Ramon Gill Huma, 25, Lawrence
  • • Julio Colon, 24, Lawrence
  • • Paul Aaron, 31, Lowell
  • • Steven Lessard, 31, Lowell
  • • Miguel Alvarez, 27, Haverhill
  • • Edward Brito, 31, Lawrence
  • • Trevor Ahearn, 28, Haverhill
  • • Julio Saldana, 18, Lawrence
  • • Jesus Rivera, 20, Lawrence
  • • Jorge Rodriguez, 21, Methuen

 

mhayward@unionleader.com


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