Brothers plead guilty to running drug ring


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — One of three brothers who admitted to running a drug trafficking operation in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut was sentenced Wednesday.

A federal judge sentenced Claudio Valdez Wednesday to 20 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Valdez, 46, and his brothers Hector Valdez, 45, and Juan Valdez, 51 had each pleaded guilty in federal court on an earlier date. Juan Valdez is scheduled to be sentenced next month, while Hector Valdez is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the trio admitted they were the ringleaders of what the FBI dubbed the Valdez Drug Trafficking Organization. An FBI dragnet called Operation Triple Play took down the organization in April 2017, resulting in the arrests of the three Valdez brothers and 13 other suspects.

All 16 of suspects have now pleaded guilty. 

Prosecutors said the Valdez brothers admitted to arranging shipments of large amounts of cocaine and heroin from Mexico, which were hidden in stash houses in Woonsocket and Cranston. The brothers also pleaded guilty to overseeing the distribution of the drugs to mid- and low-level dealers in the Providence, Boston, and Hartford areas.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said immigration detainers had also been lodged against the three brothers, who are Dominican nationals. Federal prosecutors said the Valdez brothers had previously been deported for other drug crimes, and had re-entered the country illegally.

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