Fifteen Arrested in Three New England States as Mexico to Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut Heroin and Cocaine Supply Chain Broken
Nine Dominican nationals face deportation proceedings, including three previously deported brothers alleged to have run the drug trafficking operation
PROVIDENCE, RI – Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island Stephen G. Dambruch, and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Field Division, today announce the dismantling of a significant drug trafficking organization importing substantial quantities of heroin and cocaine shipped from Mexico via the Southwest border of the United States directly into Rhode Island.
Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Dambruch noted in court documents that the Valdez Drug Trafficking Organization, run by three brothers, Hector Valdez, 47 and Claudio Valdez, 44, Dominican nationals living in Woonsocket, R.I., and Juan Valdez, 50, also a Dominican national living in Milton, Mass. The three brothers, who allegedly reentered the county after having been previously convicted of felony drug crimes and deported, arranged for several shipments of multi-kilograms of heroin and cocaine to be brought from Mexico to stash houses in Cranston and Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The drugs were then distributed to mid-level drug dealers and street dealers in the greater Providence and greater Boston areas and in Hartford, Connecticut.
Based on information developed by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force during the investigation dubbed “Operation Triple Play,” a reference to the three Valdez brothers, the FBI, assisted by federal, state, and local law enforcement agents and officers in three states, executed 15 federal arrest warrants and 13 search warrants issued by the U.S. District Courts. Immigration detainers have been lodged against 9 of the defendants charged in this matter, identified as Dominican nationals, most living in the United States with what are alleged to be stolen identities. Additionally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assisting in the execution of the arrest and search warrants detained two individuals on administrative warrants for removal who they encountered but who were not criminally charged as a result of Operation Triple Play.
During the course of the investigation that began in September 2016, and as a result of search warrants executed this week, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force seized nearly 4 kilograms of heroin, 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl, 2 kilograms of cocaine, 155 grams of crack cocaine, more than 100 pounds of cutting agents, approximately 12 kilograms of powdery substances that have been sent for laboratory analysis, approximately $95,000 in cash and 9 vehicles. 5 of the vehicles had hidden compartments allegedly used for transporting drugs and money.
This announcement comes two days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo to United States Attorneys directing them to focus on charging and prosecuting criminal aliens who profit by smuggling poison into our country and bringing death and violence to our streets.
“The President has made the dismantlement and destruction of drug cartels a top priority, and cases like these are integral in that effort,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “When law enforcement – federal, state and local – work together like these partners in Rhode Island, we will be one step closer to fulfilling this goal and protecting our communities.”
“As alleged, the Valdez brothers trafficked in all types of drugs and profited from the addictions that have destroyed lives and torn apart families here in New England. This case illustrates that drug cartels based in foreign countries will go anywhere to distribute their deadly products,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Field Division. “The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force will do everything it can to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that threaten the safety and stability of our neighborhoods.”
Operation Triple Play is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation initiated by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. Under the direction of the FBI, the participating agencies in this investigation include the Drug Enforcement Administration (Providence and Boston Resident Agencies); Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Rhode Island State Police; Providence Police Department; Woonsocket Police Department; Central Falls Police Department; Cranston Police Department; Warwick Police Department and; the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and FBI Special Agent in Charge Harold H. Shaw thank Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA for New England, and the DEA, for their financial and technical support during Operation Triple Play, the U.S. Department of State, and the United States Attorney’s Offices in the Districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut for their assistance.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorneys William J. Ferland, Ronald A. Gendron and Richard W. Rose.