Thursday, February 18, 2016

Heroin Investigation Came to a Head

"2 charged in ring distributing heroin in Boston, Revere" by J.D. Capelouto Globe Correspondent  February 10, 2016

A four-month State Police investigation into a heroin trafficking group came to a head Tuesday when officers from several agencies seized a significant amount of drugs and arrested two men police believe were traffickers.

Jorge Luiz Baez, 26, and Luis Medina-Feliciano, 40, both of Boston, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Chelsea District Court to drug distribution and trafficking charges, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said in a statement.

The men were part of a “heroin trafficking organization operating in Boston and Revere,” State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said.

After the arrests, police conducted two separate searches of the suspects’ residences and found 2.5 kilograms of suspected heroin and 1.5 kilograms of cocaine as well as a .22-caliber semiautomatic Sig Sauer pistol. They also found a white powder most likely used as a cutting agent, a substance mixed in with drugs.

The searches were conducted at Medina-Feliciano’s home on West Newton Street in the South End and Baez’s home on Orlando Street in Mattapan, Boston police said.

“The investigation involved undercover purchases of significant amounts of heroin during the course of the investigation,” Procopio said in a statement.

The men allegedly sold more than 200 grams of heroin to an undercover state trooper in one transaction.

State Police ran the investigation, using their gang units and search dogs, Procopio said. Boston police, Revere police, and a Drug Enforcement Administration task force provided assistance, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Conley’s office.

“Collaboration is the hallmark of a successful prosecution,” Wark said.

Conley said the arrests serve the public by countering the opioid epidemic in the region.

“When opiate overdoses in Suffolk County claim more than three times as many lives as illegal firearms, we can’t pretend that heroin trafficking is a victimless crime,” he said in the statement.

“When police recover a handgun next to several pounds of narcotics, we can’t pretend that a drug trafficker is a nonviolent offender,’’ Conley said.

“This was careful, methodical work to disrupt a high-level narcotics distribution group, and it could very well save lives in Boston and beyond.”

Baez and Medina-Feliciano were each held on $50,000 bail and ordered to stay away from each other while the case is pending. They are due back in court March 3.