Two Rhode Island Men Charged In Wide-Ranging Fentanyl Conspiracy
BOSTON – Two Rhode Island men have been arrested and charged for their alleged roles in a fentanyl trafficking conspiracy that spanned across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.
Jasdrual Perez, 33, of Cranston, R.I., and Erik Ventura, 33, of Providence, R.I., were charged with one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. Following initial appearances before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell, Perez and Ventura were detained pending a hearing which is scheduled for Feb. 18, 2022.
According to the charging documents, in September 2019, agents began an investigation into a drug trafficking organization (DTO) headed by Perez. The investigation revealed that Perez, Ventura and others allegedly conspired to distribute large quantities of controlled substances, including fentanyl pills, to customers in numerous locations across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. The investigation further revealed that the DTO manufactured fentanyl pills for distribution. In July 2021, law enforcement seized close to 1,100 counterfeit oxycodone pills suspected to contain fentanyl in Dedham, allegedly attributable to the Perez DTO.
According to court documents, on Feb. 7, 2022, a search of Perez’s residence resulted in the seizure of two pill presses, a gallon-sized freezer bag suspected to contain fentanyl pills, more than 50,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills suspected to contain fentanyl and multiple marijuana plants. In total, over 10 kilograms of suspected fentanyl was seized. A search of another home where Perez resides resulted in the seizure of more than $80,000 in alleged drug proceeds.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins, Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division and Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, Boston Field Office, made the announcement today. Special assistance in the investigation was provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Providence Field Office; the Drug Enforcement Administration, Providence Field Office; the Rhode Island State Police Department; and the Cranston, Warwick and West Warwick Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Craig E. Estes and Lindsey E. Weinstein of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the case.
This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.