State and local authorities have seized 77 pounds of narcotics — including heroin, cocaine and more than 30 pounds of the deadly opiate fentanyl — as the result of a six-month long investigation, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office.
The investigation, dubbed Operation High Hopes, involved wiretaps to get critical evidence that authorities say brought down two Boston-area drug trafficking organizations.
Police from Boston, Braintree and Randolph as well as federal officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Division were involved in what officials say was one of the longest wiretap investigations and biggest drug bust in Massachusetts history.
Fentanyl has largely been blamed for exacerbating the opioid crisis due to its strength. A lethal dose of heroin is about 30 milligrams, while 3 milligrams of fentanyl is enough to kill an average-size adult male, according to Stat.
More than 30 pounds of fentanyl were recovered from local drug traffickers.
“I want to be clear about the size and scope here,” Conley said in a statement. “Massachusetts’ fentanyl trafficking statute covers quantities greater than 10 grams. That threshold represents less than 1/1000th of the quantity we’ve taken off the street. The number of actual milligram-level doses in 15 kilograms is in the millions.”
The amount seized could have led to a “truly staggering” number of overdoses, Conley said.
“Individuals who buy and sell at this level aren’t users,” he added. “They’re not small time dealers, either. They’re certainly not selling to support a habit. They’re trafficking in addictive substances that claim more lives in Massachusetts than all homicides, all suicides, and all car crashes, statewide, combined.”
Officials believe the fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and opiate tablets came from the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. Approximately $300,000 in alleged drug money was also recovered.
This investigation first began in July 2017 and resulted in police arresting a total of 37 suspects.
“These arrests and seizures will have a tremendous impact on the quality of life in Boston and many other Massachusetts cities and towns,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans in a statement. “The individuals arrested are responsible for pumping dangerous drugs into our communities, while profiting on the vulnerability of those suffering from the disease of addiction. I commend the work of my detectives and all our law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly over the past six months of Operation High Hopes.”