27 arrested in alleged Cape Cod drug-trafficking ring
Federal agents arrested 27 suspects yesterday in a drug-trafficking operation based on Cape Cod that allegedly conducted transactions in fast-food bathrooms and used a toy box and even chocolate cake to conceal heroin and cocaine shipments.
Authorities seized more than $130,000 in heroin and cocaine, as well as a boat and several cars during their sweep yesterday. Suspects were arraigned yesterday in district courts and also in federal court in South Boston.
A total of 32 people have been charged in connection with the ring, including one man currently serving time in Louisiana on a previous drug conviction and another who is being held pending a drug trial.
“Many of the people who have been arrested in the course of the investigation are not new to law enforcement,’’ Jack Pirozzolo, first assistant US attorney, said during a press conference at Falmouth police headquarters. The ring is considered to be one of the largest ever prosecuted from the area.
A two-year investigation started in August 2008 after a tip by a confidential informant led FBI agents to E Customs, a jet ski and motorcycle repair shop on Clay Pond Road in Bourne.
The agents monitored that location and observed an unusual amount of traffic and saw that few, if any, customers arrived with watercraft or motorcycles, according to an 89-page affidavit.
Agents conducted background checks on the “customers’’ and determined that many had prior drug and weapons-related arrests and convictions. The focus of that initial investigation was Kyle Hicks, 29, of Marstons Mills, who allegedly ran the shop.
Hicks is believed to be one of four men who ran the drug operation. His residence and even his trash were monitored. Agents observed people frequently visiting his house and found several empty clear bags that contained residue of heroin and marijuana, along with a scale and plastic gloves.
Authorities utilized surveillance and court-approved wiretaps of suspects’ cellphones. The affidavit describes colorful and often vulgar conversations.
Adalberto Graciani, 38, of Marstons Mills, a suspected leader, allegedly walked into a Centerville post office in September and attempted to mail a package with heroin to Louisiana. About 19 grams were concealed in two green balloonlike packages and stuffed into a Little Debbie chocolate pie. Authorities intercepted the package.
Another suspected leader, Kelvin Frye, 28, of East Wareham, also attempted last year to mail 11 grams of heroin in a toy box, but authorities intercepted the package, according to the affidavit.
The other suspected leader was identified as Russell Rose, 30, of Randolph.
Other shipments were attempted, and at least one drug transaction took place inside a men’s bathroom at a McDonald’s.
Among those arrested, Bonnie Bearse, 48, a manager at the Briarwood Condominium complex in Falmouth, allegedly received cocaine last year.
Of those arrested yesterday, 12 face federal charges and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
Fifteen people face state charges of conspiracy to violate the controlled substance act and face maximum sentences of 10 years in prison.
Brian R. Ballou can be reached at email@example.com.