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News Release
February 26, 2004

10-Month Chelsea Drug Investigation Culminates With Numerous Arrests Of Alleged Dealers
Defendants Were Indicted by Grand Jury; Arraignments Today In Suffolks Superior Court Boston

BOSTON, Feb. 26, 2004 – Dozens of detectives from the Chelsea and State Police and agents and officers assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force fanned out across Chelsea last night and early this morning and arrested approximately 20 alleged drug dealers in the culmination of a 10-month investigation.

In addition to the approximately 20 defendants arrested last night and this morning several more were already in custody on unrelated matters and will have arrest warrants lodged against them.
The arrests were made on warrants that issued following last week’s sealed Suffolk Superior Court indictments of the defendants, who on numerous dates allegedly sold drugs to undercover officers, mostly in and around Bellingham Square. A total of 39 alleged heroin and cocaine dealers – more than half of whom have previously been convicted of drug distribution offenses – were indicted by a Superior Court grand jury after hearing evidence of the undercover transactions.

“ Thanks to the work of many dedicated police officers, the people of Chelsea today woke up to a city that is a great deal cleaner than it was when they went to bed last night,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said at a press conference this morning. “Today we send a message to anyone who would deal drugs: You will not be allowed to turn this city, with all its great traditions and great people, into an open-air drug market. The city of Chelsea does not belong to the drug dealers. It belongs to the honest hard-working people who just want a safe city to live, go to their jobs, and raise their children.” Conley praised the excellent work of the Chelsea and State Police and the DEA agents.

Chelsea Police Chief Frank Garvin said: “This type of collaborative proactive effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies is just another meaningful positive step that will continue on a random basis at various strategic locations throughout the City of Chelsea until such a time that all the city streets are completely free from of the illicit drug trade element that has an adverse impact on the quality of life of the law abiding citizens.”

Added DEA-New England Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville: “The DEA in New England is committed to working with our state and local counterparts in combating the drug dealers who stalk this community. We will continue to make federal resources available for Chelsea and other communities to help curb the flow of drugs into their neighborhoods. Groups that choose to peddle heroin are now on notice that Chelsea is not a safe haven.”

Of the 39 indicted defendants, 21 have previously been convicted of selling drugs, meaning they face a minimum of seven years in state prison if convicted. Others face a minimum of five years in prison. All but four of the defendants sold drugs to undercover officers within 1,000 feet of a school, warranting the filing against them of the additional charge of distribution within a school zone.

The arrested defendants are being arraigned today in Suffolk Superior Court in the Magistrate’s Session, Courtroom 14 on the 9th floor. Several other indicted defendants are still being sought.

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