More than two dozen people were arrested and 11 others are still being sought after federal, state and local authorities executed more than two dozen search warrants Thursday in a gun and drug distribution investigation spanning the Greater Boston area.
The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office also confirmed that at least 10 firearms were seized, along with approximately $80,000 in cash, 5.5 kilos of heroin and "a large quantity" of fentanyl, in the massive wiretapping sweep dubbed "Operation Wolfgang," which started over a year ago.
For more than a year, police say they've been wiretapping members of the Mozart Street Gang, which they believe is responsible for much of the heroin distribution in the Greater Boston area.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley praised the combined law enforcement efforts that led to the arrests and evidence seizures.
"These were not street level dealers," Conley said, saying that those accused were domestic suppliers who were also involved in other violent crimes in the area.
Prosecutors said their case originally focused on Yohan Gomez of Roslindale, but after listening to some of the phone calls of these alleged gang members, prosecutors focused their attention on 26-year-old Elizabeth Comas of Hyde Park.
They believe she is responsible for bringing a large amount of heroin into the United States from the Dominican Republic.
Everyone arrested as a result of "Operation Wolfgang" on Thursday was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on drug trafficking conspiracy charges.
At least two dozen search warrants were executed across Greater Boston, including in Braintree, Everett, Quincy, Malden, Watertown and Dedham.
"Today's arrests will make a dent in the heroin that's hitting the street," said Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office.
Throughout the morning, detectives walked in and out of a building in Everett that houses United Industries. It's unclear if the business is connected to the investigation, and law enforcement are tightlipped about why they were on the property.
"Make no mistake. Taking these guns and drugs off of the streets will save lives," Conley said.
More than 1,300 people died of an opioid overdose in Massachusetts alone in 2014, according to the CDC, and while Conley said those who are addicted are routinely directed to rehab, traffickers are a different matter.
"There are pundits, professors, policy makers and others who see all drug offenses as minor and all drug offenders as low level and non-violent," he said, "but cases like this prove otherwise."