PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Detectives arrested a Providence couple last week after a months-long investigation uncovered what’s being described as a “sophisticated drug operation.”
Captain Roger Aspinall said detectives had been surveilling an apartment building on Bellevue Avenue as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation when the United States Postal Service flagged a suspicious package heading there from Arizona.
The package, according to Aspinall, contained 1 kilogram of fentanyl.
Aspinall said detectives were there when the package was delivered last Thursday.
Albertina Peña Terrero was arrested as soon as she left the apartment to retrieve the package. Terrero’s boyfriend, identified as Eusebio Nunez Tejeda, was also taken into custody.
Aspinall described Tejada as the right-hand man of the target of the investigation, identified as Juan Peguero Martinez.
Martinez, who’s believed to be one of Southern New England’s drug trafficking kingpins, is currently incarcerated in New Jersey on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
Detectives searched the apartment and, with the help of K-9 Vader, found 9 kilograms of fentanyl and 3 kilograms of cocaine, as well as a firearm.
Aspinall said detectives found some of the drugs tactfully hidden inside a bedroom dresser.
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“In one of the drawers next to the bed, [the detectives] found a remote control,” Aspinall explained. “When you hit it, this piece would raise up and the drugs were located on the side [of the dresser].”
“This is probably one of the more sophisticated drug operations we’ve seen in this city in years,” he added.
Aspinall described the basement of the apartment building, where all three suspects live, as “a little laboratory.”
“[Martinez] was making everything and getting it ready for street-level distribution,” he explained.
Aspinall estimates that detectives took nearly $2 million worth of fentanyl off the streets.
“Taking any amount of fentanyl off the street is clearly going to help us save lives and cut down on overdoses,” he said.
Tejada and Terrero are facing numerous charges, including possession of more than one kilogram of fentanyl and cocaine, unlawfully distributing and manufacturing narcotics near school grounds, possession of a firearm and maintaining a common nuisance.
Aspinall said Martinez will eventually be charged in connection with the ongoing investigation.