Ramirez and Martinez were arrested in Peabody because that’s where they agreed to meet a witness working with federal agents. It does not appear Ramirez and Martinez lived in Peabody; they came to the Shore Drive apartment on Saturday from an address in Lynn, according to court documents.
The arrest took place after a lengthy investigation by federal agencies. ICE agent Sean Rafferty, in an affidavit included in court documents, said he began investigating Ramirez in 2010 because he was known to be altering the fingerprints of people who had been previously deported from the U.S.
When authorities found out that Ramirez planned to travel to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic this month, Rafferty had a cooperating witness contact Ramirez to set up an appointment.
The witness told Ramirez he had been previously deported from the U.S. and jailed, and he wanted to avoid recapture. Ramirez agreed to alter the witness’s fingertips, as well as those of a friend, for a total price of $7,000, according to court documents.
When the witness asked if there was something for the pain associated with the surgery, Ramirez said Martinez takes care of distributing painkillers to patients, according to Rafferty’s affidavit.
Federal agents entered the Peabody apartment and arrested the duo Saturday once they had set up their equipment, discussed the surgery and accepted $4,000 in cash from the witness. Agents had both video and audio surveillance set up on the location, and the witness wore a recording device.
Authorities found Martinez was also wanted on a Somerville District Court warrant for cocaine trafficking.
Martinez told investigators she had her fingertips altered by Ramirez after her arrest in Somerville.
“To date, Martinez had successfully avoided detection and capture on this cocaine-trafficking charge, as well as avoiding deportation,” Rafferty wrote in his affidavit.