Marc Fortier

DA Announces Arrests in Multi-State Drug Investigation

Law enforcement officials announced numerous arrests Wednesday following an investigation into a multi-state drug operation.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, in conjunction with Massachusetts State Police, Everett police and other law enforcement officials, announced details of a wiretap investigation that resulted in the disruption of a "large scale, multi-state drug distribution operation."

Six people have been arrested, and cocaine, marijuana and guns were seized. Maritza Medina, 39, of Melrose, was arrested and was charged with conspiracy to traffic over 200 grams of cocaine. The defendant was arraigned yesterday in Malden District Court, and is being held on $20,000 cash bail. If he makes bail, he will be subject to house arrest and GPS monitoring.

Jairo Salado-Ayala, 36, of Lynn was arrested and charged with conspiracy to traffic and trafficking of over 200 grams of cocaine. Salado-Ayala was arraigned yesterday and held on $100,000 cash bail, and will be subject to house arrest and monitoring if he makes bail. 

The shipment of drugs was allegedly seized last Friday. DA Ryan said officers confiscated packages from a UPS facility that contained 2 kilos of uncut cocaine valued at over $100,000.

Officers also seized three pounds of marijuana, packaging material to transport drugs, two firearms, a fully loaded 357 magnum, and a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, as well as 200 grams of a cutting agent for cocaine, $6,000 cash, weapons, contraband, and five cars used for drug distribution.

Ryan said the cocaine was being transported from Mexico through Texas and then into Massachusetts, specifically Middlesex County. Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

"People ask, 'where do these drugs come from?'" said Ryan. "This is it, across the border, into Texas, packaged in an elaborate system."

According to investigators, the packaged drugs would be doused in transmission fluid to try to avoid detection, then shipped using UPS or Fed-Ex.

The investigation began in Texas back in September, culminating in the Massachusetts raid. The alleged ringleader, identified as Leonel Castaneda, has been arrested in Texas.

"I commend the excellent work of our troopers assigned to the Middlesex County Detective Unit and our State Police Gang Unit-- this investigation and the resulting arrests affirm the value that court-authorized wire intercepts provide in certain cases, including those involving wide-ranging criminal networks," said Colonel Richard McKeon. 

The six suspects appeared in various courts in the county.

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