More than 300 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers conducted an early-morning raid Thursday that ended with the arrest of 27 alleged gang members who are accused of dealing cocaine, heroin, marijuana and oxycodone.
In a media briefing today, federal prosecutors said the Woodward Avenue and Hendry Street gang members are part of a "very sophisticated national network" that has been terrorizing residents in the Bowdoin-Geneva section of Dorchester and the Uphams Corner section of Roxbury.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said the 18-month investigation "focused on the violence plaguing the city's most hard-hit neighborhoods."
Of the 27 arrested today, 25 were local. Two more were arrested out of state - one in Maine and one in California - and two others were already in custody.
The alleged ring leaders of the drug-ring, Alexis Hidalgo, 31, of Dorchester and Jonathan DaSilva, 29, of Roxbury, were among those arrested in this morning's sweep.
Prosecutors said the duo is responsible for the distribution of kilos of crack cocaine, thousands of oxycodone pills and hundreds of pounds of marijuana. Investigators said they used surveillance, including wiretapping, to build a case against the alleged drug ring.
Hidalgo is accused of selling more than 280 grams of crack cocaine to a cooperating witness.
In a wiretap recording that took place on Aug. 9, 2012, Hidalgo had the following exchange with an alleged co-conspirator, Jeremiah Barbosa:
Hidalgo: "Tuesday's on. We are going to be good for a long time."
Barbosa: "Is it the mother-load?"
Hidalgo: You just got us indicted bro. If they are listening, I sell weed man!"
Prosecutors described the recorded conversations as the suspects "convicting themselves with their own words."
Law enforcement is still on the hunt for one suspect; 30-year-old Dorchester resident Jackson Barros.
"We encourage him to turn himself in," said FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers.
Authorities alleged that the drug ring's network stretches as far west as California, as far north as Maine, and as far south as Miami, moving large quantities of cocaine, marijuana, and prescription painkillers.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley today called the network "disturbing in size and scope," but said the effect of the gang's often violent fallout was most felt in the Boston-area.
"It’s a sad fact that violent feuds within small factions of Boston’s Cape Verdean community have riven families and neighborhoods apart for decades," Conley said. "Those feuds have claimed dozens of lives and left hundreds, even thousands, in very real fear for their lives and safety."