Feds break up major drug ring, 9 Dominican nationals face deportation

The suspect who signed the plea deal is at the bottom of this Operation Triple Play chart.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Federal officials Thursday revealed more information about “Operation Triple Play” – the major drug investigation spanning Woonsocket, Cranston, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

During the course of the investigation – which has been ongoing since September 2016 – authorities said they seized about 4 kilograms of heroin, 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl, 2 kilograms of cocaine, 155 grams of crack cocaine, and 100 pounds of cutting agents. The street value of the seized drugs is nearly $700,000.

Investigators also seized $95,000 in cash and nine vehicles – five of which had hidden compartments allegedly used for transporting drugs and money.

Authorities said stash houses were in Cranston and Woonsocket and the drug ring distributed to mid-level dealers in the greater Providence, Boston, and Hartford areas.

A total of 15 people were arrested in the sting, including the three brothers – Juan, Claudio, and Hector Valdez – for which the operation was named.

Federal authorities said the brothers ran the sophisticated, multi-state trafficking ring at the highest level, bringing in the drugs from Mexico over the southwest border.

They said the brothers are all drug felons who have been previously deported to the Dominican Republic. They said Juan has been deported four times.

The brothers and six others arrested in the investigation now have immigration detainers against them. Officials said all of them are Dominican nationals, believed to be living under stolen identities.

“As alleged, the Valdez brothers trafficked in all types of drugs and profited from the addictions that have destroyed lives and torn apart families here in New England. This case illustrates that drug cartels based in foreign countries will go anywhere to distribute their deadly products,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Field Division. “The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force will do everything it can to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that threaten the safety and stability of our neighborhoods.”