Bristol County DA’s office, New Bedford police break up fentanyl-trafficking ring

Crime

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — Authorities in Southeastern Massachusetts say they’ve dismantled a major drug-trafficking ring and in doing so, made one of the area’s largest-ever fentanyl busts.

On Tuesday, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III and members of local, state and federal law enforcement announced the results of the nearly year-long investigation dubbed “Operation Ghost.”

According to Quinn, police executed search warrants in two separate phases – one last month and one this past week. Between the two sweeps, 21 people were arrested on drug-related charges and investigators seized more than five kilograms of raw fentanyl, 35 grams of methamphetamine, 13 grams of crack cocaine, a large quantity of marijuana, more than $112,000 in cash, one firearm, and body armor.

“The seizure of between five and six kilos of fentanyl may be the largest amount of fentanyl ever seized in Bristol County,” Quinn said.

The investigation began last summer after Dartmouth police got a tip about Orlando Badillo, who was believed to be the ring leader. Quinn said Badillo is known among his operatives as a ghost for the shadowy ways in which he conducts his business.

Badillo, 40, has a lengthy criminal past that includes a conviction for manslaughter.

“These individuals are dangers to the community,” Quinn said. “In reality, they are peddling death to those who are in the throes of drug addiction.”

In March and April, investigators used a wiretap to identify Badillo’s alleged supplier, Robert Peguero. Quinn said he sees the arrests as a major step towards combatting the drug epidemic.

Below are the arrests made as part of Operation Ghost:

Phase I:

  • Orlando Badillo, 40, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and trafficking fentanyl
  • Maria Carrion, 42, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and trafficking fentanyl
  • Pedro Cruz, 38, of New Bedford, is charged with trafficking fentanyl, conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute marijuana
  • Samuel Gonzalez Lopez, 51, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Kelly Rodrigues, 29, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute a class A substance – subsequent offense
  • Elizabeth Andrews, 31, of Fairhaven, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Robert Peguero, 48, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and trafficking fentanyl
  • Heather Cabral, 38, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Lisa Telfair, 57, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and trafficking fentanyl
  • Xiomara Rivera, 51, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Alberto Suazo, of Easton, is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a class B drug
  • David Luna, 37, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and trafficking fentanyl

Phase II:

  • William Furey, 39, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Diogo Alves, 29, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Brandon Barboza, 23, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Katherine Barboza, 32, of New Bedford, is charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl
  • John Blackledge, 40, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Joseph Medeiros, 33, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Ashley Rebello, 26, of Dartmouth, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Adrian DeJesus, 33, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl
  • Wayne Farias, 35, of New Bedford, is charged with conspiracy to traffic fentanyl

Quinn said there are still a handful of suspects yet to be arrested in connection with the investigation. He said he will push to detain those suspects without the option of cash bail.

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