Investigators seized nearly three kilograms of pure fentanyl, guns, cash and cocaine during raids here and in Belchertown over the past three days, according to Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni.
One kilo of cocaine was recovered in a box under a Christmas tree at the home of alleged drug trafficker Julian Delgado, 29, of Columbia Terrace in Springfield. Massachusetts state troopers stopped Delgado’s car on Dec. 5 and found a kilo of cocaine there as well, Gulluni said.
Delgado was one of five arrested after a long-running investigation into narcotics trafficking, according to law enforcement officials. Two days after Delgado was arrested, troopers arrested Maralaisy Gil, 39, and Junior Degracia, 41, both of Springfield, heading back from Lawrence with 2.8 kilos of fentanyl in their car, Gulluni said.
A day after that, John Feliciano, 45, of Springfield, and Jose Antonio Diaz, 46, of Belchertown, were arrested and charged with drug trafficking, illegal gun possession and other crimes.
Gulluni made the announcement during a press conference on Wednesday at a podium set up behind an array of drugs, guns, bulletproof vests and nearly $12,000 in cash allegedly recovered during the seizures.
“This is particularly significant given what we believe to be an enormous amount, quite frankly, of fentanyl,” Gulluni said, referring to the powerful synthetic drug akin to morphine that has made its way into batches of heroin across the nation. “Literal granules can prove to be fatal especially to those who are not accustomed to opioids.”
Gulluni said the drug seizures and arrests were the products of troopers connected to his office partnering with the Springfield Police Department and other agencies. Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason joined Gulluni at the announcement, taking particular note of the firepower the suspects allegedly amassed along with two military-style ballistic vests.
“It speaks volumes to the level of violence associated with the drug trade,” Mason said.
The suspects are still being arraigned in Springfield and other district courts, a spokesman for Gulluni said.
The investigation was funded, in part, by a federal “COPS” grant. The acronym stands for “community oriented policing services” and funds are distributed to local law enforcement agencies by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Gulluni said the drug busts made a significant dent in the drug trade in the region, given the purity of the fentanyl that likely would have been broken down and mixed into hundreds of thousands of individual heroin packages for distribution.
“This amount of fentanyl would have clearly been a very serious threat for a very long time in Western Massachusetts,” Gulluni said.
Officials said the suspects had been on the radar for law enforcement source for months, officials said. The investigation ramped up over the last month when investigators were able to secure court-sanctioned wiretaps and other electronic surveillance, according to Gulluni.
Officials at this morning’s press conference all lauded law enforcement partnerships to combat drug trafficking and violence.
“We have a mutual respect, the Springfield Police Department and Massachusetts State Police. The results of that are on the table in front of you,” said Springfield Deputy Chief Steven Kent. “That is not always the case with different state, local and federal agencies.”
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