BOSTON – Nine men were charged in connection with a wide-ranging drug trafficking conspiracy that that involved dozens of parcels suspected of containing kilograms of cocaine sent from Puerto Rico to various addresses throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Investigators intercepted eight parcels and seized more than 16 kilograms of cocaine from the mail.
“We allege that the defendants received parcels sent via U.S. Mail from Puerto Rico and containing kilograms of cocaine — which we allege they then sold here in our communities. That’s illegal and dangerous, of course, and it is an affront to the hard-working public servants in the U.S. Postal Service,” said Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell. “The trafficking conspiracy was detected and dismantled thanks to effective investigative work by the people who protect our mail system and by local and state law enforcement. Those investigators remain on the lookout, and the public should know that people who misuse and abuse public services for criminal schemes can expect to face justice.”
“Today’s arrests are an example of our commitment and dedication to protect those we serve and to keep our communities safe from illegal drugs and those who seek to harm the public through their continued efforts to break the law,” said Joshua W. McCallister, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division. “These defendants allegedly used the mail to transport narcotics from Puerto Rico to Massachusetts and Rhode Island, introducing narcotics into the communities in which we all serve. This conduct will never be tolerated. Winning the battle against illicit drugs is a top priority for the Postal Service and the Inspection Service. Our objectives are to rid the mail of illicit drug trafficking and the associated violence, preserve the integrity of the mail, and, most importantly, provide a safe environment for postal employees and Postal Service customers — the American public.”
As alleged in the charging documents, since February 2020, law enforcement has been investigating a drug trafficking organization operated by Patrick Joseph. Based on a wiretap investigation, it is alleged that Joseph coordinated the transportation of 10-20 kilograms of cocaine at a time from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, and eventually to Massachusetts and Rhode Island via the U.S. Mail. During this investigation, the cocaine seized by investigators was found concealed in two-kilogram quantities inside air fryers and locking cash boxes before being sent through the mail.
Today, investigators seized various firearms, 21 kilograms of cocaine and over $100,000 cash.
The following defendants were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base:
“The multiple kilos of cocaine intercepted through the combined work of these partner agencies would have, had they reached the streets, fueled despair and violence,” said Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher S. Mason. “The message to traffickers should be clear: the postal mail is not a safe route for you to distribute your poison and we will be as vigilant in interdicting that method of transport as we are with all other methods.”
“The Boston Police Department continues to work in partnership with our federal partners to prevent and reduce violence in our communities,” said Superintendent in Chief Gregory Long. “Today’s arrests and seizure of firearms and drugs is a testament to the strong working relationships that ultimately resulted in removing dangerous firearms and drugs off the street.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney Mendell, USPIS Acting Inspector McCallister, MSP Colonel Mason and Superintendent in Chief Long made the announcement today. The Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division and Homeland Security Investigations in Boston provided valuable assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip C. Cheng and James E. Arnold of Mendell’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the case.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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