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Police & Fire

Holyoke Man Admits To Working With Violent Mexican Cartel Drug Ring: Feds

John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse,
John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, Photo Credit: US Courts

A Holyoke man pleaded guilty to helping a Mexican drug cartel distribute fentanyl throughout Massachusetts, federal authorities said. Police found drugs, money, body armor, and a stockpile of guns when they arrested him last year, officials added. 

Josue Rivera Rodriguez, 45, who goes by the nickname Bori, confessed last week to charges of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, distribution of 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and two counts of distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl, the US Attorney for Massachusetts said. He faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and could serve a life sentence. 

Federal officials said Rodriguez was working for Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, one of the most violent cartels in Mexico. 

DEA agents recorded Rodriguez delivering $35,000 in cash to a cooperating witness for the gang. He also passed 750 grams of fentanyl to that witness throughout 2020 and 2021, officials said. For context, 2 milligrams of the synthetic opioid can be deadly, according to the DEA.

Authorities arrested him in April 2021 and were shocked by what they found. 

"Josue Rivera Rodriguez trafficked deadly fentanyl all over Massachusetts, including Watertown, Revere, Holyoke, and Springfield, for one of the largest and most violent transnational criminal organizations operating in Mexico and the United States,"  said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Boston Division. "Equally troubling is what we found when we took him into custody— a cache of high-powered weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle, a bulletproof vest, and even a police hat with insignia."

A judge will sentence Rodriguez in February. 

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