Holyoke man allegedly with the CJNG drug cartel was arrested for fentanyl conspiracy

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Assault rifle and five handguns seized from defendant’s residence

BOSTON (USDOJ) – A Holyoke man believed to be associated with the CJNG (“Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion”) drug cartel was arrested Thursday on charges of trafficking in fentanyl.

Josue Rivera Rodriguez, a/k/a “Bori,” 44, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl; two counts of distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl; and one count of distribution of 400 grams or more of fentanyl.

According to court records, agents recorded a meeting where Rodriguez delivered $35,000 to a cooperating witness using a code designed to ensure that the money was delivered to the CJNG cartel. Thereafter, on three occasions in 2020 and 2021, Rodriquez was recorded distributing over 750 grams of fentanyl to the cooperating witness.

At the time of his arrest on April 8, 2021, approximately 300 grams of suspected 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; and $1,900 cash was seized from his residence.

The charges of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and distribution of 400 grams or more of fentanyl provide for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. The charge of distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; and Holyoke Police Chief Manny Febbo made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Pohl of Mendell’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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