Police arrested 41 people, seized 10 firearms, $80,000 in cash and more than five kilos of heroin and fentanyl Thursday as the result of a yearlong investigation into the Mozart Street Gang.
The arrests, which focused on high-level drug dealers pushing kilos of the addictive opioids, will put a major dent in drug trafficking and work toward alleviating the overdose and opioid crisis, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F.Conley said.
“Traffickers like these are a different story,” he said. “Not only do they rob, shoot, and even kill their business rivals and innocents who get caught in the crossfire,they’re responsible for the overdoses that claim three times more lives in Massachusetts than handguns and motor vehicles combined.”
Over 1,300 people suffered fatal overdoses in Massachusetts in 2014, one of the highest rates in the country and more than 25 percent higher than the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Conley said the drug trafficking ring was characterized by violent crime.
“They ran a violent drug trafficking organization that conducted robberies, shootings and armed home invasions,” he said.
The multi-agency investigation relied on 17 wiretaps of suspected gang members. Conley called it “one of the longest and most successful wiretap investigations in modern Suffolk County history.”
“One would have to go back to the days of the Mafia, when the wiretap statute was last updated, to find a more effective use of telephone intercepts to climb the rungs of a criminal ladder,” he said.
The investigation started more than a year ago with Yohan Gomez, 29, of Roslindale, who police believed to be a high-level drug trafficker. But the investigation soon grew upward to include his suspected suppliers. Chief among them was Elizabeth Comas, a 26-year-old Hyde Park woman with no criminal record who police allege is responsible for bringing large quantities of heroin into the U.S. from the Dominican Republic.
“We were able to identify this previously-undetected heroin importer only through the use of wiretaps,” Conley said.
The information from those wiretaps led investigators to Braintree, Brockton, Dedham, Everett, Malden, Quincy and elsewhere. It took almost three dozen teams of local and federal law enforcement to conduct Thursday morning’s raids, and the entire staff of Boston’s Narcotics Unit to arraign the defendants that afternoon.