Chelsea Man Arrested in Drug Bust

Some of the heroin seized at the East Boston drug bust.

A major drug bust in East Boston last week has removed 42 lbs. of heroin worth $5 million from the streets and landed a Chelsea man behind bars.

Miguel Antonio Rivera, 35, of Chelsea was arraigned on charges of trafficking in more than 200 grams of a Class A substance in a school zone for the 19 kilos of heroin recovered during the bust near Sumner Street. A second defendant, Santa Cruz, 49, of Norwalk, Connecticut, was not arraigned but is expected to appear before a judge at a later date.

East Boston District Court Judge Kenneth Fiandaca imposed $200,000 cash bail on Rivera and ordered him to wear a GPS monitoring device, surrender his passport, and remain within 10 miles of Boston if he posts that amount.

Additionally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations officials have placed an immigration detainer on Rivera, meaning that he will likely remain in custody even if he posts bail.

“This seizure takes about five million dollars’ worth of heroin off of Boston’s streets, but there’s no doubt that it would have been sold and distributed well beyond city limits,” said District Attorney Dan Conley. “That’s why we’re working closely with Boston Police, State Police, and federal partners at ICE and DEA. If drug traffickers are working to transport drugs across jurisdictions, then we’re going to work just as hard to interdict, intercept, and apprehend them.”

Assistant District Attorney Janine D’Amico told the court that Boston Police officers from District 7, acting on a tip regarding drug activity in the area had set up surveillance near119 Sumner Street in East Boston last Wednesday. At about 12:30 p.m., they spotted a black minivan with Maryland plates, occupied by Cruz, park illegally on Sumner Street. A short time later, they observed Rivera approach the minivan, which made an improper turn onto Havre Street.

Rivera entered the minivan’s passenger seat and Cruz drove it about 50 feet before parking again. At this time, Boston Police notified State Police in the area of their observations and two troopers approached the minivan to find Rivera at the rear door pulling a duffle bag out of a compartment. When he spotted the troopers, Rivera allegedly tried to stuff it back in before being physically separated from the vehicle.

On closer inspection, the bag was revealed to contain 15 bricks of a substance that field-tested positive for heroin and, in total, weighed in at 42.994 pounds.

“This arrest sends a powerful message to all those who choose to engaging in drug activity,” BPD Commissioner Edward F. Davis said, “Working with our law enforcement partners we will continue our relentless and never-ending efforts to find you and lock you up.”

Special Agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Boston Bruce M. Foucart said that whenever a significant quantity of illegal drugs is taken off the streets, the positive impact felt in the community is immediate.

“Because of the continued collaboration of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can sleep easier tonight knowing that 19 kilograms of heroin is not on its streets,“ said Foucart

Attorney Otto Medrano Santana represented Rivera today. He will return to court on Nov. 31.

“This heroin seizure reflects the commitment of the Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police Department, Suffolk prosecutors, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to attack drug trafficking organizations who distribute their contraband in our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge John Arvanitis. “The DEA and our partners are unified and committed to investigate, arrest, prosecute and incarcerate everyone involved with this criminal organization. This investigation will continue.”

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