24 kilos of drugs, 14 arrested in major drug ring takedown
BOSTON (AP) — Authorities arrested 14 people and seized more than 24 kilograms (53 pounds) of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine as a result of a two-year drug trafficking investigation, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Thursday.
It's the biggest takedown of a major opioid trafficking operation in the history of her office, she said.
"To put this in context, the 24 kilos that we seized represents millions of dollars' worth of drugs," she said at a news conference. "More importantly, it represents hundreds of thousands of lethal doses of drugs that have kept from affecting communities in our state."
Twelve people between the ages of 24 and 52 were arrested and $100,000 in cash and four guns were seized Wednesday during a series of raids in Lawrence and Methuen conducted by local, state and federal law enforcement. Two people had been arrested previously.
The investigation was launched by special agents at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency office in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sought the source of drugs coming into that state.
The arrests will have a measurable impact on the opioid trade, said Jon DeLena, associate special agent in charge of the DEA's New England Field Division.
"We have witnessed the destruction that the opioid epidemic has brought to our neighborhoods," he said. "Every time we take fentanyl off the streets it saves lives."
The ring sold drugs throughout the Northeast and was controlled in part by people living as far away as New Jersey, Healey said.
Healey said the investigation used high-tech surveillance techniques as well as traditional law enforcement methods.