Wiretaps, Raids In Tewksbury, Dracut, Lowell Lead To 12 Arrests For Drug Trafficking
Packaging material, approximately $300,000, suspected cocaine, Percocet, Oxycodone, MDMA, Suboxone, approximately five pounds of marijuana (Middlesex DA photo).
LOWELL – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Lowell Police Superintendent Kelly Richardson have announced that 12 people were arrested today following a months long wiretap investigation into a drug trafficking conspiracy involving kilogram quantities of cocaine for distribution in Lowell and other areas in Middlesex County. In total, over two kilograms of suspected cocaine, two hand guns and over $300,000 in cash was taken off the street as a result of the investigation led by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police assigned to this office and Lowell Police.
“Physically taking product out of our communities is an essential component of our wide-ranging efforts to address the pervasive problem of illicit drug use that only law enforcement can accomplish. This complicated large-scale investigation involved identifying members of a trafficking conspiracy at every level of the supply chain from bulk wholesalers to street-level dealers. During the course of the investigation evidence was also gathered with respect to other dangerous conduct allegedly being engaged in by these individuals. Today’s arrests demonstrate the value of collaborative work involving multiple law enforcement agencies,” said District Attorney Ryan.
“I would like to publicly commend District Attorney Marian Ryan and Massachusetts State Police for their collaborative efforts. Our long partnership has worked once again in dealing with serious crime in the city of Lowell. In August 2018 when appointed Superintendent I made a public commitment that the gun violence in Lowell would not go unanswered. We have learned that much of the gun violence in our cities stem from the illegal drug trade. Today’s arrest and seizure of narcotics, money and weapons should have a positive effect on our community. I appreciate the efforts of all,” said Superintendent Richardson.
In May of 2019 investigators began to conduct wiretaps in the City of Lowell in connection with an investigation into a suspected drug trafficking conspiracy that had been underway since 2016. In 2016, the Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit arrested Joseph Alicea, a.k.a. “Duda” for trafficking heroin and he was subsequently sentenced to state prison. During his time in prison Alicea allegedly continued to run his drug trafficking business. Upon his release law enforcement resumed their investigation in this alleged drug distribution activity and subsequently initiated a wiretap in May.
Over the course of the investigation police learned that Alicea was allegedly actively trafficking kilogram quantities of cocaine including, purchasing cocaine from suppliers, and cutting, cooking and packaging it for resale to customers either by personally delivering or delegating the delivery to others. He was allegedly operating this conspiracy with his significant other, Marisol Oritz who allegedly assisted Alicea in pricing and packaging the drugs.
The investigation also revealed that Alicea was conspiring with over a dozen other individuals to traffic in sizeable quantities of cocaine. These individuals participated in the conspiracy by assisting Alicea in packaging and distributing the controlled substances. These individuals would also distribute cocaine in transactions brokered by Alicea, and to their own customers.
The investigation into this conspiracy also indicates that some members were connected to other acts of violence utilizing firearms in the community. The investigation into this activity is ongoing and additional charges could be issued.
On June 27, 2019, law enforcement officers from the Massachusetts State Police and the Lowell Police Department executed 12 search warrants at locations in Lowell, Lawrence, Dracut and Tewksbury believed to be used by the co-conspirators in the furtherance of their narcotics-related activities.
Over the course of the investigation law enforcement discovered and seized over two kilograms of suspected cocaine, two handguns, over $300,000, several pounds of marijuana, MDMA, Oxycodone, Percocet, Suboxone, cutting agents and a money counter.
As a result of the execution of the search warrant, the following individuals were arrested and charged:
· Joseph Alicea, 30, of Lowell – trafficking in cocaine over 200 grams, conspiracy to traffic
· Marisol Ortiz, 37, of Lowell – trafficking in cocaine over 200 grams, conspiracy to traffic
· Javier Ortiz, 25, of Lowell – trafficking over 200 grams of cocaine and conspiracy to traffic cocaine
· Richard Gonzalez, 26, of Lowell – conspiracy to traffic cocaine and possession with intent to distribute a class D substance
· Alberto Marbert, 27, of Tewksbury - conspiracy to traffic cocaine
· German Figueroa, 23, of Lowell – conspiracy to traffic cocaine
· Christian Amador, 28, of Lowell – conspiracy to traffic cocaine, tampering with evidence and possession with intent to distribute cocaine
· Angel Chinea, 35, of Lowell – conspiracy to traffic cocaine
· Angel Chinea, 20, of Lowell – possession of a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition
· Adam Morales, 24, of Lowell – conspiracy to traffic cocaine
· Rafael Manzueta, 36 of Lowell – conspiracy to traffic cocaine
· Melvin Gonzalez-Padilla, 27, of Lowell - trafficking over 200 grams of cocaine and conspiracy to traffic cocaine
The arraignments for the above individuals will be held tomorrow in Lowell District Court. These charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The investigation into this matter remains ongoing and additional arrest warrants are being sought at this time.
The prosecutors assigned to this case are Assistant District Attorneys Graham Van Epps, Michael Klunder and Mary F.P. O’Neill. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration provided assistance with this investigation.