LAWRENCE — Long before Maricely Carrion Ramos was driving on a local highway and arrested last week, state police investigators said they knew the man in her passenger’s seat, Jocheiry Acevedo Hernandez, was part of a “highly organized and sophisticated” trafficking network for heroin, fentanyl and cocaine in the Greater Lawrence area, according to court records.
Hernandez, 31, was listed as a target in the major narcotics investigation which was initially launched in October 2017 and involved wiretapping, surveillance and covert monitoring by investigators over the past three months, according to search warrant affidavits filed in the case.
After Ramos, a former Lawrence police dispatcher, Hernandez, and 12 others were arrested and charged last week, Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Daniel Clemens and Trooper Robert Noonan wrote in the search warrant affidavits which span 361 pages and were filed in Salem Superior Court.
Ramos, Hernandez and others are facing multiple charges of trafficking and illegal distribution of narcotics. Ramos and Hernandez are currently held without bail.
Investigators said they were listening on June 15 when Hernandez was talking on the phone about going to New York to visit Ramos’ father. It was apparent from the conversation the couple “also intended to pick up narcotics while there,” according to the affidavits.
The following day, investigators “pinged” one of Hernandez’s cell phones. At first, he showed up in Worcester on Interstate 290 and later, next to Yankee Stadium in New York.
Later in the day, investigators listened as Hernandez gave someone “instructions on how to mix cutting agents to narcotics” and then as he admitted “to traveling to New York to secure two kilograms of fentanyl,” according to the court documents.
Then, around 11 that night, investigators said, through the wiretap, they knew Hernandez and Ramos were heading back to Massachusetts. They “arranged” for the Honda Accord Ramos was driving on Interstate 495 north in Westford to be pulled over by Trooper Steven Durant who is assigned to a state police “community action team.”
“During the motor vehicle stop, Trooper Durant located and seized approximately two kilograms of suspected fentanyl and two kilograms of suspected cocaine from inside the vehicle,” according to the affidavits.
A report written by Durant said two kilos of cocaine were discovered hidden under the passenger’s seat of the car.
Also, “abnormal bump” was seen in the car’s floor carpet underneath the passenger’s seat, according to Durant’s report.
“Underneath the carpet I located a large plastic bag containing a white powdery substance believed to be fentanyl,” Durant wrote.
Ramos, following her arrest last Monday, was fired from the police department. She had worked as a civilian call taker for about a year.
However, she was placed on administrative leave on May 27 due to a domestic violence case not related to the drug charges.
An audit is being conducted to see what information Ramos viewed in local, state and federal law enforcement records while she worked at the police department, said Police Chief Roy Vasque.
“It’s important for us to see what she accessed,” he said.
Ramos is not listed or referred to in the affidavits as a target in the drug case. She is is mentioned in the paperwork and was allegedly present on at least one occasion where Hernandez was arranging a drug transaction at an apartment at 572 Essex St. in Lawrence.
The alleged buyer asked if there were “people there?”
Hernandez replied, “‘My woman,’” which we believe to be a reference to his girlfriend Maricely Carrion Ramos,” according to the affidavits.
Investigators also intercepted a call on May 11, at 11:08 a.m., when Ramos called Hernandez. During the call, he “confirmed that he resides in apartment 6B of 572 Essex St.,” according to the affidavits.
“Jocheiry, when you are naughty I have to call you Jocheiry,” said Ramos, according to the transcript.
She tells him she “gets out at 5.” He told her he wants to see her, according to the records.
The roots of the investigation stretch back to October 2017 when investigators “became involved into the illegal sale of heroin/fentanyl in Lawrence by an individual we knew only as ‘Papa’ at the time,” according to search warrant affidavits.
“Investigators were aware that ‘Papa’ arranged drug transactions by phone and used runners to sell narcotics in the area of Jackson Street in Lawrence,” according to the paperwork.
An investigator made “‘Papa’s’ acquaintance in an undercover capacity.”
An undercover investigator then made 11 purchases of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine between Nov. 16, 2017 and March 14, 2019. Each time, the officer “arranged he undercover purchase by calling or texting” the man known as “Papa,” according to the search warrant documents.
Robinson Adames Abreu, 52, who is also known as “Papa,” was among 14 people charged in the major drug bust which was announced last week by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office and involved more than 150 local, state and federal law enforcement officials.
Investigators seized more than 24 kilos of narcotics, about $100,000 cash and four handguns during raids Wednesday at 14 undisclosed locations in Methuen and Lawrence, according to authorities.
Attorney General Maura Healey called the bust the “largest take down of a major opioid trafficking operation” in the history of her office.
Staff reporter Julie Manganis contributed to this story.