BOSTON (WWLP) – A Holyoke man who is a part of the CJNG (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion) pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges involving fentanyl.

Josue Rivera Rodriguez, a/k/a “Bori,” pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, two counts of distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl, and distribution of 400 grams or more of fentanyl, according to the Department of Justice. Rodriguez was arrested in April of 2021 and pleaded guilty on November 18, 2022.

Rodriguez was recorded giving $35,000 to a cooperating witness and used code indicating that the money was intended for the CJNG cartel. After three occasions in 2020 and 2021, Rodriquez was recorded distributing over 750 grams of fentanyl to the same cooperating witness.

The following was seized back in April 2021 from Rodriguez’s residence:

  • Approximately 300 grams of fentanyl
  • An AR-15 assault rifle
  • Five semi-automatic pistols, including handguns capable of carrying large-caliber ammunition and fitted with a laser sight
  • A bullet-proof vest
  • A police hat with insignia
  • Packaging materials
  • Cellphones
  • A money counter
  • $1,900 cash

“The CJNG cartel is one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in Mexico. Mr. Rodriguez conspired to bring CJNG’s violent drug trafficking operations into our Commonwealth. Because of the exceptional work of our law enforcement partners, he failed,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Not only did he distribute considerable quantities of fentanyl on behalf of the cartel into our communities, but agents also seized deadly firearms from his home – including a fully automatic AR-15 machinegun and several handguns fitted with a laser sight. These weapons are far too excessive and powerful for any claim of self-defense. They are designed for destruction and harm. Stopping the flow of illegal narcotics from entering into our communities remains the most critical step in combating violent criminal activity directly at its source.”

“Josue Rivera Rodriguez trafficked deadly fentanyl all over Massachusetts including Watertown, Revere, Holyoke, and Springfield for one of the largest and most violent transnational criminal organizations operating in Mexico and the United States. Equally troubling is what we found when we took him into custody— a cache of high-powered weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle, a bulletproof vest, and even a police hat with insignia,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “This case illustrates the FBI’s commitment to removing large-scale drug traffickers like Rodriguez who are a clear and present danger to our communities from our streets before they can ruin any more lives.”

“DEA is committed to investigating those involved with drug trafficking in Massachusetts,” said Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division. “As we all know, drug trafficking in our communities, along with the gun and physical violence that often accompanies it, is a serious threat to our families and communities.  This is unacceptable and will not be allowed to happen.  DEA and its local, state, and federal partners are dedicated to bringing to justice those that commit these crimes.”

Rodriguez is scheduled for sentencing on February 6, 2023.