Yarmouth woman among ten indicted in Southeastern Massachusetts fentanyl trafficking conspiracy

BOSTON, MA – Ten individuals were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Boston for their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that distributed fentanyl throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The defendants were initially arrested and charged on July 19, 2022. Approximately 14.9 kilograms of suspected fentanyl and substantial amounts of cash were seized at the time of the arrests.

According to the charging documents, in March 2021, law enforcement began investigating a DTO led by Estarlin Ortiz-Alcantara operating in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Intercepted communications on numerous cellphones allegedly identified Mario Rafael Dominguez-Ortiz, Yeury Francisco Garcia-Rodriguez, Rafael Cesar Cabreja Jimenez and Alfredo Valdez as members of the DTO who conspired with Ortiz-Alcantara to regularly distribute multi-kilograms of fentanyl from a base of operations at a stash house in Fall River.

The investigation also identified Rebecca Bartholomew, Edwin Collazo, Jason Cruz, Michael Pacheco and Jose Santiago as alleged regular DTO customers who re-distributed fentanyl to their own local customer bases in areas including Cape Cod, Taunton and New Bedford. As part of the conspiracy, it is alleged that members of the DTO, under Ortiz-Alcantara’s management and control, conducted drug transactions with these regular customers in public areas – including in the diaper aisle of a store and in supermarket parking lots. It is also alleged that on at least one occasion, members of the DTO transported drugs concealed in cereal boxes while accompanied by a child. Over 500 grams of suspected fentanyl was seized during the investigation through controlled purchases and drug seizures.

The following defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl:

Estarlin Ortiz-Alcantara, 36, of Providence, R.I.;
Mario Rafael Dominguez-Ortiz, 24, of Cranston, R.I.;
Yeury Francisco Garcia-Rodriguez, a/k/a “Benjamin Osorio Pizarro,” 32, of Providence, R.I.;
Rebecca Bartholomew, 36, of Yarmouth;
Jose Santiago, 45, of New Bedford;
Edwin Collazo, 26, of New Bedford;
Jason Cruz, 41, of New Bedford;
Michael Pacheco, 43, of Taunton;
Rafael Cesar Cabreja Jimenez, 27, of Providence; and
Alfredo Valdez, 44, of Providence.

The following defendants were charged with possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl:

Estarlin Ortiz-Alcantara,
Rafael Cesar Cabreja Jimenez, and
Alfredo Valdez, 44, of Providence.

The following defendants were charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl:

Edwin Collazo, and
Michael Pacheco.

“Today’s indictment is another step towards dismantling what we believe to be a substantial drug trafficking organization that pumped deadly fentanyl into neighborhoods throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island – including the Providence, New Bedford, Taunton and Cape Cod areas,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “My office is committed to prosecuting fentanyl traffickers to the fullest extent of the law for their deadly business. I commend our federal, state and local law enforcement partners for their outstanding investigation resulting in today’s indictment.”

“DEA is committed to investigating and dismantling Drug Trafficking Organizations and the individuals who are responsible for distributing lethal drugs like fentanyl to the citizens of Massachusetts,” said Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division. “Let these sentences be a warning to those traffickers who are distributing this poison in order to profit and destroy people’s lives. DEA’s top priority is combatting the opioid epidemic by working with our local, county, state and federal partners. We won’t stop until individuals who distribute deadly drugs are brought to justice.”

The charges of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, provide for a sentence of between 10 years and life in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $10 million. The charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

U.S. Attorney Rollins, DEA SAC Boyle, New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira and Fairhaven Police Chief Michael J. Myers made the announcement today. Special assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police; Homeland Security Investigations; Bristol County Sherriff’s Office; and Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Scituate, Yarmouth, Providence (R.I.) and West Warwick (R.I.) Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Mulcahy of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

This effort 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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