Home Boston Press Releases 2009 Sixteen Arrested in Joint Federal-State Drug Investigation in Fitchburg

Sixteen Arrested in Joint Federal-State Drug Investigation in Fitchburg

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 09, 2009
  • District of Massachusetts (617) 748-3100

BOSTON, MA—Eight individuals were arrested today on federal indictments charging them with federal gun and drug charges. The arrests coincided with eight additional state arrests for similar state charges, all resulting from a long term joint federal and state investigation into drug trafficking and related gang activities in the City of Fitchburg.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Steven Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Office; Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations - Boston Field Division; Glenn N. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Boston Field Office; Joseph D. Early, Jr., Worcester County District Attorney; Chief Robert A. DeMoura of the Fitchburg Police Department; and Colonel Mark Delaney, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police announced today that a total of 16 individuals were arrested as a result of a joint federal and state investigation, dubbed “Operation Northern Kings, which began more than a year ago. The eight individuals arrested on federal Indictments that had been obtained and sealed in November and December, pending the arrests were identified as:

SAMUEL BERMUDEZ, 24, was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine Base and other crimes. He faces up to 40 years’ incarceration, supervised release for life and a fine of up to $2,000,000;

ANGEL ROMAN, 24, was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine Base and other crimes. He faces up to 40 years’ incarceration, supervised release for life and a fine of up to $2,000,000;

BRIAN CHANTHACHACK, 24, was charged with being a felon unlawfully in possession of a handgun. He faces up to 10 years’ incarceration, supervised release of up to three years and a fine of up to $250,000;

HECTOR AULET, 32, was indicted for selling cocaine base and heroin. He faces up to 40 years’ imprisonment, supervised release for life and a fine of up to $2,000,000;

ALBERT MEIER, 20, was indicted for selling cocaine base. He faces up to 40 years’ imprisonment, supervised release for life and a fine of up to $2,000,000;

ANGEL MOLINA, 25, was indicted for selling cocaine base. He faces up to 40 years’ imprisonment, supervised release for life and a fine of up to $2,000,000;

ERIS PAULA-MARIA, 20, was indicted for selling cocaine base. PAULA-MARIA faces up to life imprisonment, supervised release for life and a fine of up to $4,000,000;

MIGUEL TORRES, 23, was indicted for selling heroin and cocaine base. He faces up to 40 years’ imprisonment, supervised release for life and a fine of up to $2,000,000; The 8 individuals arrested on state Indictments were identified as:

LUIS MARTINEZ, age 23, of Fitchburg was charged with Trafficking Heroin 14 to 28 grams, Conspiracy to Traffic Heroin on May 6, 2009 and Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in a School Zone in May 2009. He faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment;

SANDRA MARTINEZ, 30, of Fitchburg was charged with Trafficking Heroin 14 to 28 grams and Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in a School Zone in July 2009. She faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment;

VICTOR ANDINO, 23, of Fitchburg was charged with Distribution of Cocaine in April 2009. He faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment;

EPHRAIM ROJAS, 24, of Fitchburg was charged with Distribution of a Counterfeit Substance and Conspiracy to Distribute a Counterfeit Substance, Distribution of a Counterfeit Substance and Distribution of Cocaine 2nd Offense in September 2009. He faces up to 10 years' imprisonment;

ROBERT BRUNO, 20, of Leominster was charged with Distribution of a Counterfeit Substance and Conspiracy to Distribute a Counterfeit Substance in September 2009. He faces up to one year imprisonment;

HARVEY GROUT, 20, of Fitchburg was charged with Trafficking Cocaine 14 to 28 grams, Possession of with Intent to Distribute in a School Zone and Conspiracy to Traffic Cocaine in March 2009. He faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment;

AVIN GARCIA, age 25, of Fitchburg was charged with Trafficking Heroin 14 to 28 grams, Conspiracy to Traffic Heroin and Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in a School Zone in May 2009. He faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment;

JOSE QUINONES, 20, of Fitchburg was charged with Conspiracy to Traffic Cocaine on April 7, 2009. He faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

According to the federal Affidavit filed today, a number of the defendants are members or associates of street gangs operating in the City of Fitchburg, including the Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation and the Bloods. It is further alleged in the Affidavit that a number of these defendants have been convicted of crimes of violence and narcotics felonies and face enhanced sentences under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Today’s arrests should send a clear message that we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone who engages in the illegal use, possession or distribution of guns and drugs in the City of Fitchburg. We will use the full array of federal and state resources at our disposal to accomplish this goal. The law abiding citizens of Fitchburg deserve nothing less, and we will not stand by and let a handful of criminals endanger lives and neighborhoods in this community. I want to commend our federal and state partners for their cooperation and ongoing commitment to our efforts to keep the City of Fitchburg safe.”

“This a great example of law enforcement working together to make Fitchburg a safer community,” said District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

Fitchburg Chief Robert DeMoura said, “Today's enforcement effort confirms the Fitchburg Police Departments commitment to work with the United States Attorney's Office and all of the other agencies involved. We are pleased to announce that plans for 2010 include more enforcement, intervention, and prevention work by our officers and agency partners.” DeMoura continued, “The Fitchburg Police Department knows dealing, distributing, and trafficking illicit drugs rips at the very fiber of our city. Today's operation is the result of hard work and dedication of our officers, and partners at the federal level, and the ongoing collaboration with the Fitchburg Police Department. This type of relationship will continue with other initiatives well under way in our city for years to come.”

“In Fitchburg this morning we arrested alleged traffickers who mistakenly thought that they controlled our streets, but instead they learned that violence and drug trafficking will not be tolerated. DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to work together to keep streets safe from this type of crime and preserve the rights of citizens who live in those neighborhoods,” said Steven Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Warren Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI said, “The success of this operation emphasizes the significance the FBI places on close cooperation between multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in executing these types of investigations. The professionalism and dedication of all involved will ensure the safety of Fitchburg’s neighborhoods and seriously disrupt gang related violent criminal activities in the area.”

“Guns and drugs continue to plague cities across the country,” stated Glenn N. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms, “We will continue to partner with our local state and federal partners to keep our neighborhoods safe.”

The cases are part of an OCDETF joint investigation lead by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration through the DEA’s Central Massachusetts HIDTA Task Force, which is staffed by members from the DEA, FBI, United States Postal Inspection Service, Massachusetts State Police, Worcester Police Department, Webster Police Department, Clinton Police Department, Massachusetts National Guard and the Fitchburg Police Department’s Drug Suppression Unit.

The federal case are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Hennessy and Karin M. Bell of Ortiz's Worcester Branch Office. The state cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Paul Bolton of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.’s Office.

The details contained in the Indictments and the Affidavit are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.