DA’s office: West New York man wanted for role in massive Boston drug ring

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A West New York man is wanted for his alleged role in a massive Boston drug ring, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. 

Victor Tapia of West New York. Photo courtesy of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.
Victor Tapia of West New York. Photo courtesy of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Victor Tapia, of West New York, is “not currently in custody” and “hasn’t been booked,” according to DA spokesman Jake Wark, but confirmed he’s among the 32 targets wanted in the ongoing probe.

Wark added that Tapia allegedly conspired to violate Massachusetts drug laws.

Touted as “Operation High Hopes,” the investigation dismantled two Boston-area drug trafficking organizations and led to the seizure of approximately 77 pounds of various narcotics:  including more than 30 pounds of fentanyl and around $300,000 in alleged drug
money, the DA’s office said.

According to authorities, the fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and opiate tablets are believed to have come from the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.

“The number of actual milligram-level doses in 15 kilograms is in the millions. And the number of overdoses it could have caused is truly staggering. Individuals who buy and sell at this level aren’t users,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a statement.

“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 said that the investigation was started by the Boston Police Special Investigations Unit and DEA Task Force in July 2017 and initially focused on three individuals:

Edward Soto-Perez, 43, of Roxbury, Nelson Catala-Otero, 37, of Brockton and Julio Cuello, 52, of Dorchester, were all arraigned in November of last year on multiple drug trafficking charges after the execution of wiretap-based search warrants.

Conley also revealed that a wiretap was utilized 11 times, and approved on more than two dozens phones, during the course of the investigation – as of February 8th.

“Our goal in these cases isn’t simply to make arrests. It’s not just to build cases. It’s to
disrupt an industry that causes addiction, overdose, and death. For low-level drug users, our emphasis was and remains treatment and diversion, because addiction isn’t a crime – it’s a treatable medical condition,” added Conley.

“But top-level drug trafficking groups like these are a different matter. They cause real harm to real people, real families, and real communities. There is no doubt in my mind that by dismantling their trafficking infrastructure at the highest level possible, this operation has saved hundreds of lives.”

Photo courtesy of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.
Photo courtesy of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.