BOSTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A nine month federal investigation has resulted in an indictment charging twenty-one individuals with federal drug and bribery charges and the seizure of a single 260 kilogram shipment of cocaine - the largest ever seizure in Massachusetts history. United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Vincent J. Mazzilli, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; Denis C. Riordon, Acting District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New England; Colonel Thomas Foley, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Leo J. Sullivan, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration; Office of Inspector General, George McLean, Chief of the Somerville Police Department; Kevin Barry, Chief of the Rowley Police Department; Michael Healy, Chief of the Westport Police Department; John M. Souza, Chief of the Fall River Police Department; Arthur J. Kelly, Chief of the New Bedford Police Department; Michael Maloney, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Colonel Stephen Pare, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Paul Walsh Bristol County District Attorney, announced today the indictment of twenty-one individuals on various drug charges relating to the distribution of cocaine. The following individuals were charged in a four count indictment with participating in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine from July 2000 to December 2001: 1. RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA, a/k/a "Ralph", a/k/a "Rolando", age 26, of 20 Lepire Avenue, Westport, MA; 2. JOSE CABRERA, a/k/a "J", age 36 , of 1303 Phillips Road, New Bedford, MA; 3. MIGUEL CABRERA, a/k/a "Mack", age 37, of 246 Bonin Street, New Bedford, MA; 4. JOSE YEJE, a/k/a "Ty", age 26, of 78 Charlotte White Road, Westport, MA; 5. OMI MONTANEZ, a/k/a "Nene", age 25, of 73 Fern Street, New Bedford, MA; 6. FARID YEJE, age 51, of Atlanta, GA; 7. MARCOS PEREZ, a/k/a "Marquito", of 55 79 Peckham Street, Fall River, MA; 8. ROBERT LOPES, a/k/a "Bobby", age 28, of 984 Sharon Street, New Bedford, MA; 9. FABIANO MEDEIROS, age 26, of 1543 Cove Road, New Bedford, MA; 10. WILFREDO PEREZ, age 34, of 504 Quincy Street, Fall River, MA; 11. ABISMAEL CASTILLO, a/k/a "Isaac", a/k/a "Ish", age 27, of Woonsocket, RI; 12. EMILIO VASQUEZ, a/k/a "Joel", of 62 Bridgham Street, Providence, RI; 13. RICCARDO CORONADO, a/k/a "Primo", age 40, of Tucson, AZ; 14. FAUSTO MENA, age 32, of Nogales, AZ; 15. FERNANDO DUARTE, age 34, of 56 Frederick Street, Fall River, MA; 16. ALEXANDER CORDERO, a/k/a "Crippled Alex", age 26, of 42 Brookside Avenue, North Providence, RI; 17. DEREK PERRY, age 30, of 800 Pleasant Street, New Bedford, MA; 18. NERYS CABRERA, age 47 , of 2075 Walton Avenue, the Bronx, NY; 19. WILLIAM OLIVIERO, a/k/a "Alejandro", a/k/a "K", age 24, of 2075 Walton Avenue, the Bronx, NY; 20. JOSE ARCENTALES, a/k/a "Crip", age 33, of the 1535 University Avenue, the Bronx, NY; and 21. JASON PACHECO, age 25, of 105 Cornell Road, New Bedford, MA. According to the indictment and an affidavit filed in support of a twelve search warrants, the individuals charged today are members of an extensive narcotics organization, alleged to be run by RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA, which has ties to a Mexican drug cartel. Boston DEA agents began investigating RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA when his cellular telephone number was found in the electronic memory of another cellular telephone that had been inadvertently left behind in a trailer seized in New York on April 5, 2001. That trailer contained cocaine and approximately $422,000 in cash. It is alleged that this money was paid by YEJE-CABRERA to the drivers of the truck for cocaine that had been delivered to Massachusetts. The subsequent Massachusetts investigation identified the twenty-one individuals charged today as partners and workers in the organization, including both of YEJE-CABRERA's parents, his two uncles, his younger brother, and a cousin. During the course of the investigation, on December 8, 2001, RICCARDO CORONADO and FAUSTO MENA were arrested by a Massachusetts State Trooper following an accident investigation involving the tractor trailer truck they were driving. A search of the tractor trailer revealed a false wall behind which was found, two hundred and sixty kilogram packages of cocaine - the largest ever seizure of cocaine in Massachusetts history, with an estimated street value of $20.8 million. Additionally, RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA is charged in the indictment with bribing an INS Special Agent. During the course of the investigation, YEJE- CABRERA was arrested on INS charges. YEJE-CABRERA is alleged to have paid $100,000 in cash to an INS agent on August 15, 2001 as a bribe to ensure that he would not be deported from the United States. YEJE-CABRERA is also to have later offered, but did not pay, an additional $30,000 to obtain information about possible DEA investigations of him and his two uncles, JOSE CABRERA and MIGUEL CABRERA. "The investigation leading to today's indictment has identified an extensive narcotics organization with ties to a Mexican drug cartel and resulted in the largest seizure of a single shipment of cocaine in Massachusetts history as well as over $680,000 in cash," said U.S. Attorney Sullivan. "The distribution ring in Massachusetts that RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA is charged with running was a true 'family business' in which both his parents and four other family members were involved. I would like to thank all of the state and federal agencies involved in this investigation and commend them for their hard work, superior professionalism and spirit of cooperation throughout." "The 260 kilogram, with an estimated street value of $20.8 million, is the largest cocaine seizure ever in the state of Massachusetts. This investigation and its results demonstrate exactly how much can be accomplished conducting narcotic investigations utilizing the philosophy of targeting all levels and aspects of the entire drug distribution organization," said Special Agent in Charge Mazzilli. The government has alleged that certain real properties, vehicles and currency were all derived or purchased by the defendants with the proceeds of the alleged illegal activity or were used by the defendants in furtherance of the alleged illegal activities and are therefore subject to forfeiture to the United States. The following real properties are being sought for forfeiture by the United States: 1) 887-891 Brock Avenue, New Bedford, MA; 2) Old Bedford Road, Westport, MA; 3) 1545 Cove Road, Unit N-2, New Bedford, MA; 4) 1547 Cove Road, Unit Q-2, New Bedford, MA; and 5) 1551 Cove Road, Unit Q-2, New Bedford, MA. The following vehicles are being sought for forfeiture by the United States: 1) One grey 2002 Cadillac Escalade, registered to RAFAEL YEJE; 2) One black 2001 Nissan Maxima, registered to OMI MONTANEZ; 3) One black 2000 BMW 540I, registered to Dolores Ramos; 4) One black 1998 Nissan Maxima, registered to JOSE YEJE; 5) One yellow 2000 Infiniti I30, registered to Melissa Padilla; 6) One blue 1999 Mercedes Benz, registered to ALEXANDER CORDERO; 7) One Blue 1998 Acura Legend, registered to ALEXANDER CORDERO; 8) One grey 2001 BMW, registered to JOSE CABRERA; 9) One black 2001 Nissan Pathfinder, registered to JOSE CABRERA; and 10) One red 1998 Madza Millennium, registered to Jose Anibal Cabrera. The United States is also seeking to forfeit the $99,950 in cash alleged to have been paid by RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA to an undercover INS agent on August 15, 2001. Nine of the twenty-one defendants were arrested this morning in Massachusetts and will have initial appearances before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Boston later today. EMILIO VASQUEZ, and ALEXANDER CORDERO were arrested in Rhode Island. FARID YEJE was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia. Five of the defendants: RAFAEL YEJE-CABRERA, JOSE CABRERA, MIGUEL CABRERA, NERYS CABRERA, and JOSE ARCENTALES were arrested in New York City. All of the defendants arrested outside of Massachusetts will have initial appearances in federal court in the states in which they were arrested and will later be removed to Massachusetts. RICCARDO CORONADO and FAUSTO MENA have been in custody since their arrest on December 8, 2001 when the shipment of cocaine was seized. ABISMAEL CATILLO and WILLIAM OLIVERO have not yet been arrested and are considered fugitives at this time. If convicted, all of the defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years ' imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, and a $ 4 million fine. The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Massachusetts State Police, the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, the Somerville, Rawley, Westport, Fall River, and New Bedford Police Departments, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, and the Bristol County District Attorney's Office. It is being prosecuted is by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heidi Brieger in Sullivan's Organized Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit. The forfeiture part of the case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Zacks of Sullivan's Asset Forfeiture Unit.
SOURCE U.S. Attorney