Merrimack Valley

Separate Mass. Drug Busts Lead to Arrests of 5 and Seizure of 6.5 Kilos of Fentanyl

The separate drug busts by state and local police, as well as Homeland Security, dealt "crushing blows" to two major fentanyl trafficking organizations, authorities said

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Separate drug busts by Massachusetts authorities over a period of 48 hours last week resulted in the seizure of 6.5 kilograms of fentanyl, numerous pills, $13,000 in cash, a firearm and the arrests of at least five people, state police announced Monday.

State police were joined by Homeland Security and Brockton and East Bridgewater police to announce what they called "crushing blows" to two major fentanyl trafficking organizations.

"We cannot and will not stand idly by as criminal organizations target our citizens as a means of profit with blatant disregard for their health and safety," Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Special Agent-In-Charge David Magdycz said at a joint news conference.

The first operation happened Thursday night in Fall River, police said, where surveillance teams observed Jose Baez-Lara, 32, pulling into a restaurant parking lot. After approaching the vehicle, police said officers located a gift bag on the seat, which police said contained a shoebox with 15 block packages of 1,534 grams of fentanyl.

Baez-Lara was taken into custody and booked on drug trafficking charges, police said.

Two other people at the motor vehicle stop are also facing drug charges, police said, but no other information was provided.

The second operation on Saturday morning led to the arrests of Isadora Castro, 29, and Kayline Guillermo, 33, on drug trafficking charges, and the execution of search warrants at the Methuen home of Anthony Levine, 30, where authorities said fentanyl, meth, Xanax and Oxycodone were seized.

Investigators said Levine is an alleged narcotics distributor who remains on the run.

In all, law enforcement teamed up to get $1.4 million of fentanyl off the streets.

"We think it will have an immediate impact. We know through experience that even a single dose of fentanyl can be deadly," Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason said.

The investigation is ongoing and state police said there could be additional arrests and charges filed.

"This is a very good example that with the pandemic and all the other issues that are going on, that the opioid crisis is not taking a holiday here," Brockton Police Chief Emmanuel Gomes said.

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