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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

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From behind bars, Juan Guzman ran a multimillion-dollar drug ring with the help of his sister, a state employee, providing cocaine from Mexico to the streets of Boston

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Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced arrests Monday connected to an alleged multimillion dollar drug-trafficking ring operating in Boston.(Tamir Kalifa for The Boston Globe)Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced arrests Monday connected to an alleged multimillion dollar drug-trafficking ring operating in Boston.
From behind bars, Juan Guzman ran a multimillion-dollar drug ring with the help of his sister, a state employee, providing cocaine from Mexico to the streets of Boston, according to authorities. On Monday, their enterprise was brought to an end by the largest drug ­investigation in the city in at least a decade.Fourteen people were arrested just after dawn by about 100 Boston police officers and FBI agents in 12 locations across Boston, Milton, and Canton, dismantling an illegal operation that authorities likened to the television show “The Wire.”

Through the morning and early afternoon, authorities seized about $500,000 from 12 residences, four vehicles, nine bank accounts, and a safety ­deposit box allegedly used by the drug ring. The amount of cocaine seized was still being tallied Monday night.

“Today’s arrest and seizures amounted to a corporate takedown,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, who announced the arrests at a press conference. “The managing partners are behind bars, and their product is out of circulation.”

Authorities described the so-called Guzman Trafficking ­Organization as highly organized and violent, with close ties to the Boylston Street gang, which they said has been respon­sible for violence in ­Jamaica Plain, including a triple homicide in 2010.

“If you imagine a pyramid with narcotics manufacturers at the very top and street-level users at the very bottom,” ­Conley said, “the Guzman Drug Trafficking Organization — with its wholesalers, distributors, and financial managers — would be within the top third.”

Guzman, 33, directed operations while serving a 2½-year sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at ­Concord after a 2011 conviction on gun and drug charges, Conley said. Authorities said they monitored “dozens and dozens” of Guzman’s conversations while he was behind bars.

“Those of you who watched the TV show ‘The Wire’ will ­recall the Barksdale Crew, whose leader was incarcerated throughout the second season, and you wouldn’t be far from the mark,” Conley said. ­Guzman, he said, was “aided and enabled by an inner circle of top-level distributors and confidantes.”

Guzman’s sister — Maria ­Guzman, 28 — worked as a secretary at the Dorchester Juvenile Court, and is accused of maintaining bank accounts and a safety deposit box containing drug proceeds, authorities said. The deposit box and her accounts were seized, as were the accounts of Martha Tejeda, 54, the mother of Guzman’s fiancee, and Tomas Soto, 34. Guzman, ­Tejeda, and Soto were arrested Tuesday.

Three additional accounts and a Mercedes sport utility ­vehicle were seized from ­Melissa Mejia, 28, described as Guzman’s fiancee. Mejia, who was also arrested, managed Guzman’s personal finances during his incarceration, accord­ing to authorities.

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