Hampden County DA: 21,000 bags of heroin seized

Five arrested in what DA says was the dismantling of a significant drug trafficking operation

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A “significant drug trafficking operation” was dismantled in a series of raids in Springfield and West Springfield Thursday, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni says.

Gulluni held a news conference Friday morning to announce the seizure of more than 21,000 bags of heroin and the arrest of five suspects, who he says were part of an organization that supplied mid-level drug dealers around Hampden County.

“This is a significant amount of heroin. This is 21,000 bags that would unquestionably have ended up in the hands of users, and could have resulted in overdoses, in deaths, and tragedies,” Gulluni said.

He added, however, that more important than the amount is the fact that they have disrupted a network that has been supplying harmful drugs across Hampden County and beyond.

“This was a fairly substantial drug trafficking organization and they were distributing drugs to other dealers so we think that dismantling this group of people is a significant win for law enforcement,” Gulluni said.

Police had executed 19 search warrants at seven different locations in Springfield and West Springfield, and Gulluni said that they have seized key evidence that will result in prosecutions. In addition to the heroin taken by police, officers seized seven firearms, and about $13,000 in cash.

“It’s a 6 month investigation, what these people were bringing into the county on a weekly is probably indicative of that amount right there,” Christopher Wilcox, State Police Captain said.

22News looked up our stories on heroin busts in the past year and nearly 200,000 have been reportedly taken off the streets in Hampden County. This nets a big chunk, about 10 percent of that.

The arrested suspects are as follows:

  • Emmanuel Soto, 30, of Springfield. Charged with: Trafficiking between 36-100 grams of a Class A substance, conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act
  • Joel Pacheco, 28, of Springfield. Charged with: Trafficking over 200 grams of a Class A substance, conspiracy to violate narcotic laws, conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act, possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute, possession of ammunition without an FID card.
  • Luis David Ramirez-Perez, 29, of Springfield. Charged with:  Trafficking 36-100 grams of a Class A substance, Trafficking 18-36 grams of a Class B substance (cocaine), conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act.
  • John Shukes, 26, of Springfield. Charged with: Trafficking 36-100 grams of a Class A substance, Trafficking 18-36 grams of a Class B substance, conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act.
  • Jose Cedeno, 26, of Springfield. Charged with: Trafficking 36-100 grams of a Class A substance, Trafficking 18-36 grams of a Class B substance, Conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act.

All of the arrests were made without incident, and the suspects are expected to be arraigned Friday in Springfield District Court. More arrests are expected in connection to this investigation. The DA calls the men arrested high level heroin traffickers who supplied mid-level dealers in Hampden County.

Gulluni said that the arrests made in Springfield and West Springfield are not directly connected to a major drug bust centered in Hartford, which resulted in the seizure of some 20 kilograms of heroin and 13 arrests.