The Department of Justice announced Thursday the arrest of three previously deported Dominicans for allegedly running a massive drug operation.
In total 15 individuals were arrested in three states. The alleged drug operation was run out of Rhode Island and distributed massive amounts of drugs imported from Mexico around the New England area.
“The President has made the dismantlement and destruction of drug cartels a top priority, and cases like these are integral in that effort,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “When law enforcement – federal, state and local – work together like these partners in Rhode Island, we will be one step closer to fulfilling this goal and protecting our communities.”
The three brothers — Hector Valdez, 47, Claudio Valdez, 44, and Juan Valdez, 50 — were previously deported after being convicted of federal drug crimes. The Providence Journal noted that Juan was previously deported four times.
The DOJ announced that immigration detainers have been filed for nine of the individuals allegedly involved in the drug operation. In the process of the investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement also arrested two individuals who had warrants for deportation.
The DOJ said in a press released that since the investigation, dubbed “Operation Triple Play,” began in September 2016, an FBI task force has seized “nearly four kilograms of heroin, 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl, two kilograms of cocaine, 155 grams of crack cocaine, more than 100 pounds of cutting agents, approximately 12 kilograms of powdery substances that have been sent for laboratory analysis, approximately $95,000 in cash and nine vehicles.”
Five of the nine vehicles seized had hidden compartments allegedly used for smuggling.
Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Field Division, said: “As alleged, the Valdez brothers trafficked in all types of drugs and profited from the addictions that have destroyed lives and torn apart families here in New England. This case illustrates that drug cartels based in foreign countries will go anywhere to distribute their deadly products.”
Early in his presidency, Trump signed an executive order designed to take aim at drug cartels.