LAWRENCE -- Lawrence police detectives raided several city addresses, seized a stolen firearm and made four arrests while working with federal investigators on a large-scale narcotics trafficking and money laundering investigation this week.
The four men arrested in Lawrence Thursday allegedly took part in a three-year-long criminal scheme that ran from Massachusetts, Maine and Florida, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Boston.
Moses Rodriguez, 29, Juan Reyes, 29, Johnny Urena, 29, and Jeffrey Braithwaite, 32, were among 10 men arrested for trafficking the illegal drugs oxycodone, heroin and fentanyl, and then laundering money received from the illegal narcotics sales, according to information provided by the U.S. attorney's office.
Property that was seized and could be forfeited to the government includes $64,334 taken from an apartment at 39 Greenville St. in Haverhill on June 6, 2016, a 2010 silver Mercedes E class sedan and approximately $1.1 million cash, according to the indictment, which was unsealed in federal court earlier this month.
Lawrence police Chief James Fitzpatrick last week announced city police would increasingly partner with federal authorities to drive down crime in the city, including illegal drug sales and purchases and gang and gun violence.
On Thursday, detectives in Lawrence police's Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit executed search warrants at three addresses on the northern side of Lawrence, said Capt. Roy Vasque, commander of Lawrence police detectives.
The officers arrested the four men and also recovered a firearm that had been stolen from a New Hampshire location, Vasque said.
Vasque declined to identify the actual addresses searched Thursday, citing ongoing investigations involving both federal and state authorities.
The 10 men involved were arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute, illegal possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone, and conspiracy to launder money.
Also charged with Jesus Gonzalez, 22, of Haverhill, George Noukas, 27, of Manchester, New Hampshire, Gorky Gonzalez, 24, of Biddeford, Maine, Jenssi Astacio, 30, of Miami, Florida, and Darren Infante, 26, also of Miami.
The arrests were result of a three-year investigation. Officials allege that beginning in 2014, Jesus Gonzalez, Astacio, Gorky Gonzalez, Drummond, Infante, Reyes, Urena, and others, participated in a conspiracy to transport sizable quantities of oxycodone from Miami to Massachusetts where it was distributed in the Boston area.
Proceeds from the sale of the drug were then transported back to Florida and laundered in various ways, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Jesus Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Noukas, Urena and Brathwaite also participated in a conspiracy to distribute sizable quantities of heroin and fentanyl to the Boston area, according to the U.S. attorney.
In Lawrence, Fitzpatrick has said he hopes the unified force of federal, state and local police will drive down serious crime. There have been three suspected execution-style murders in the last six months, including the murder of Juan Espinal, 18, at Forest and Cresent Streets on March 8.
Jorge Luis Aristo Viscaino, 34, was shot at 84 Haverhill St. on Oct. 16, 2016, and later died. And on Feb. 16, Juan Moreta Perello, 46, was shot to death at Avon and Trinity streets.
"Either guns or drugs or a combination of the two are believed to be the nexus to the homicides," Fitzpatrick said.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Drug Enforcement Agency are being pulled in to investigate along with state troopers and a special investigator from the Essex County Sheriff's Department.
A Lawrence detective will also be deputized as an ATF agent, Fitzpatrick said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.