Local, state and federal agencies worked together to crack down on a large drug operation in Lowell, Massachusetts referred to as the "Cocaine Cowboys," resulting in the arrests of 21 people, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said the investigation began as a collaboration between her office and the Lowell Police Department in 2019, and expanded to include other agencies including the DEA, Massachusetts State Police and other local police departments.
From late 2019 through the summer of 2022, the group made a number of controlled buys from the group, Ryan said, explaining that this was a large drug-dealing operation.
“The reason for that continuing execution of buys back and forth from that group was twofold number one it was to find out where those drug were coming from and where they were being kept in the city," she explained.
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Over the span of three years, investigators identified multiple suspects believed involved at various levels of the investigation. On Tuesday multiple search warrants led to the seizure of various evidence, including 11 guns, hundreds of grams of cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and Xanax and over $100,000.
Ryan said the actions taken during the investigation should be a significant step in the fight against the distribution of fentanyl, a dangerous, highly addictive opioid that is often mixed with other drugs.
Among the 21 arrested was Hector Arriaga, 33 of Lowell, who is accused of leading the organization's activities, which the DA's office alleges included dispatching runners to purchase drugs, cutting and packaging those drugs for resale and taking and filling orders from customers. Arriaga faces various drug trafficking charges.
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Twenty others were arrested on various drug-related charges. Additional charges are possible.
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