A Mashpee man who authorities say participated in a heroin trafficking ring that spanned Cape Cod and Rhode Island was taken into federal custody Monday.
Joshua Johnson, 31, of Main Street, who authorities say took deliveries of heroin at a gasoline station on Main Street, has been charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.
Authorities levied the same charges against 10 more individuals they said participated in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of heroin and other controlled substances throughout the Cape and in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Mr. Johnson was arrested without incident around 5 AM Monday, according to the Mashpee Police Department. The special response team from Mashpee led the arrest of Mr. Johnson, who police said was asleep at the time.
The arrest came as a result of an investigation led by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Mr. Johnson was arraigned later Monday in the US District Court for Massachusetts in Boston. Court records show he was ordered held without bail and was remanded to the custody of the US Marshals Service.
A preliminary hearing and detention hearing has been scheduled for Mr. Johnson on May 31 in federal court in Boston.
In an affidavit dated and signed last Friday, Ryan J. Rapaszky, a supervisory special agent with the DEA, said Mr. Johnson participated in a heroin distribution ring led by Edwin Otero, 29, of Hyannis.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts, nine other people participated in the trafficking operation.
They included two residents of Pawtucket, Rhode Island; four residents of Hyannis; and one resident each from Centerville, Osterville and South Yarmouth.
On Monday, as part of the investigation, the DEA, assisted by the Mashpee, Falmouth and Sandwich police departments as well as other law enforcement agencies, executed a number of search warrants.
In executing those warrants, the US Attorney’s Office said, the DEA and assisting agencies seized heroin, packaging materials, scales, a finger press, ammunition, and three firearms, including a 9-millimeter assault-style weapon.
According to the office, police also observed a bullet hole in the home of one of the ring’s participants, Krymeii Fray, 23, of Hyannis.
The DEA holds that the bullet hole stems from a shooting on May 8 arising from a squabble within the ring over a drug debt.
Mr. Rapaszky, in his affidavit, sets forward an account of how the ring operated.
Part of the affidavit concerns interactions that the agent said occurred recently between the alleged leader of the ring, Mr. Otero, and Mr. Johnson.
On the afternoon of April 25, according to the affidavit, a Nissan that had left from the parking lot of the apartment complex in Hyannis where Mr. Otero lives traveled to a gas station at 135 Main Street in Mashpee.
Investigators saw Mr. Johnson walk the approximate 300 feet from the residence where he was living at 153 Main Street to the gas station, and then walked back to the residence. They then saw the Nissan drive away from the gas station.
“I believe OTERO or another member of his drug cell drove in the Nissan to meet JOSHUA at the gas station at 135 Main Street in Mashpee to conduct a drug transaction,” Mr. Rapaszky stated. “I believe JOSHUA walked directly from his home to conduct the transaction and then returned back home with the drugs.”
The affidavit goes on to detail what Mr. Rapaszky said were telephone conversations between Mr. Johnson and Mr. Otero about the heroin that the latter had provided.
In the alleged conversations, Mr. Johnson complains to Mr. Otero about the recent quality of the heroin.
“I literally lost every customer I ever had E,” Mr. Johnson allegedly said to Mr. Otero, whose first name is Edwin.
“…So obviously we gonna have to do something different,” Mr. Otero allegedly replies.
“Yeah, like some real dope…” Mr. Johnson allegedly says.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute heroin facing Mr. Johnson and the other participants of the ring provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.