COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Eight people, including two Rhode Islanders, have been arrested following a months-long investigation into a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking ring spanning from California to New England, according to federal prosecutors.
In total, investigators took approximately 152 pounds of methamphetamine off the streets through controlled purchases, motor vehicle stops and package seizures, prosecutors said.
Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, described the bust as “record-breaking.”
“We simply will not stand idly by and watch our neighborhoods degrade due to daily drug dealing and the violence it brings,” Bonavolonta said.
The investigation began last October when investigators received a tip about a methamphetamine supplier in the Boston area.
Prosecutors said the tip led detectives to Reshat Alkayisi, a 60-year-old Turkish national who lives in Coventry.
Over the course of the investigation, detectives learned Alkayisi routinely distributed “multi-pound quantities” of methamphetamine throughout New England.
Between February and April, investigators purchased suspected methamphetamine three times from Alkayisi; two from him directly and one that he negotiated, but had delivered by Brian Keleman, 52, of Woonsocket, according to prosecutors.
Last month, investigators seized four packages from Keleman that prosecutors said he picked up from a local UPS store on behalf of Alkayisi. Those packages, according to prosecutors, contained more than 100 pounds of suspected methamphetamine.
Then on Thursday, FBI agents searched Alkayisi’s home on Plainfield Pike where prosecutors said they found an AK-47 assault rifle, a handgun with ammunition, more than $23,000 in cash and a variety of drugs, including suspected methamphetamine.
Both Alkayisi and Keleman are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
In addition to Alkayisi and Keleman, detectives also arrested five others who are facing a variety of drug charges in connection with the investigation:
- Robyn Costa, 35, of Whitman, Mass.
- Eric Daneault, 45, of Manchester, N.H.
- Andre Watson, 45, of Nashua, N.H.
- Emil Dzabiev, 40, of Scarborough, Maine
- Edison Klotz 40, of Stoughton, Mass.
“Traffickers are bringing massive shipments of methamphetamine to New England, and that creates a new and especially dangerous threat,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Nathaniel Mendell said. “Meth is exceptionally destructive, and the people selling it here should see this prosecution as a warning: we are on to you, we are going to prosecute you, and you will go to federal prison.”