FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A months-long investigation into a large-scale fentanyl-trafficking ring resulted in 16 arrests and the seizure of nearly two pounds of the powerful painkiller, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III announced Monday.
The investigation dubbed “Operation Mouse Trap” was launched in September and concluded last week when officials from Massachusetts and Rhode Island executed 11 search warrants: eight in Fall River, two in Providence and one in Smithfield.
Quinn said police seized approximately 850 grams of fentanyl as well as 56 grams of cocaine, various steroids and prescription pills, an illegal firearm and $19,000 in cash.
“These types of investigations are critical to continue to put pressure on drug dealers for peddling death on our streets,” Quinn said.
Investigators’ initial target was Michael “Squeak” Rebello, 41, of Fall River, according to Quinn. Through the use of court-authorized wiretaps, more suspected members of the organization were implicated including his alleged top drug runner – Daniel Correira, 33, of Fall River – and two of his alleged fentanyl suppliers: Adriny Bernard, 32, of Smithfield, and Eladio Cabrera, 32, of Providence.
“I think there was a significant amount of narcotics seized in Rhode Island,” Quinn added. “They were allegedly supplying the Fall River organization.”
Quinn said as investigators monitored the fentanyl supply line, they were able to identify several other suspected traffickers in the Fall River area.
He also noted that the rise in sales of street-level fentanyl as well as fentayl-laced heroin in recent years has led to a “significant increase in the number of fatal overdoses.”
“Through the end of November this year, there have been 194 fatal overdoses in Bristol County,” he said.
Police departments in Rhode Island assisted in the investigation which, according to Quinn, was funded through a $2.6 million federal grant that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey secured to expand efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
“To date, the Fentanyl Strike Force has seized approximately 227 kilos of fentanyl and heroin, over 13,000 opioid pills, 67 vehicles, 59 firearms, $6 million in cash and has arrested 264 suspects,” said Gina Kwon, chief of the AG’s Criminal Bureau.
The following people were arraigned on a charge of conspiracy to violate drug laws and other related charges:
- Nolan Adkins, 28, of Fall River; Additional charges: Trafficking fentanyl over 18 grams and possession of a class C substance
- Charles Belisle, 41, of Fall River; Additional charges: Trafficking fentanyl over 18 grams
- Andrea Biszko, 34, of Fall River; Additional charges: Possession of a class E substance (two counts)
- Daniel Correira, 33, of Fall River
- Kris Ferreira, 41, of Fall River; Additional charges: Possession to distribute a class B substance, possession of a class E substance (two counts)
- Robert Garafano, 49, of Fall River; Additional charges: Trafficking fentanyl over 18 grams
- Frank Ladeira, 64, of Fall River; Additional charges: Possession to distribute a class A substance
- Jamie Medeiros, 31, of Fall River
- Sarah Medeiros, 31, of Fall River; Additional charges: Trafficking fentanyl over 18 grams
- Michael Rebello, 41, of Fall River; Additional charges: Trafficking fentanyl over 10 grams, distribution of a class A substance (subsequent)
- Gerald Satanowski, 39, of Fall River
Louis Nunes, 41, of Fall River, also faces a conspiracy charge but has not yet been arraigned since he’s in custody on charges in a separate case, according to the AG’s office.
The following suspects were arrested in Rhode Island:
- Adriny Bernard, 32, of Smithfield
- Eladio Cabrera, 32, of Providence
- Oscar Morales, 23, of Providence