‘Operation Diesel’ Nets 30 Drug Suspects

District Attorney Sam Sutter announced today that a multi-agency large-scale illegal drug investigation dubbed “Operation Diesel” resulted in the arrest of 30 individuals in the City of Taunton yesterday and today. In total, more than 50 people have been or will be charged as a result of this joint operation.  

The Massachusetts State Police Unit assigned to District Attorney Sutter's office led this year-long investigation into illegal narcotics distribution in the Fairfax Gardens housing complex on Dewert Avenue in Taunton.  District Attorney Sutter's office was assisted by numerous local, state and federal partners including the Taunton Police; The Raynham Police; State Police Units assigned to the Plymouth County, Suffolk County, and Cape and Islands District Attorneys' Offices; the State Police Special Tactical Operations Unit; the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Squad; various State Police Gang Units; the State Police D-Troop CAT Team; the State Police Air Wing; the Massachusetts State Police Fusion Center; the New England State Police Information Network and a federal task force known as the HITDA Group.

The investigation was coordinated by District Attorney Sutter's Chief of Drug Prosecutions, Assistant District Attorney Stephen Butts.

The investigation was initiated in 2009 when the State Police Unit assigned to District Attorney Sam Sutter's Office investigated a fatal drug overdose of a Taunton man. That investigation lead to a large-scale narcotics investigation into the distribution, storage and trafficking of illegal narcotics within the Fairfax Gardens Housing Complex.  Fairfax Gardens is known on the street as “Dewert”.  The main narcotic being sold within “Dewert” is heroin, however this investigation did not limit itself to just the heroin trade.  

As the investigation continued, it grew in scale to include other areas of Taunton, including the Paul Bunker Housing Complex.     

As a result of this investigation, there have been approximately 51 defendants charged with offenses including trafficking in heroin, which ranged in weights of over 14 grams up to 144 grams. There have also been numerous crack cocaine distribution charges levied against defendants targeted in this operation.  There have been 10 individuals charged who were directly indicted in the Superior Court, along with another 24 persons charged and arrest warrants issued for District Court.  An additional 17 defendants have either already been arrested or are waiting to be summonsed to court on various narcotics and motor vehicle charges. In addition to the numerous arrests, investigators seized two motor vehicles and a motorcycle, which are believed to have been used in furtherance of said illegal activities or purchased with illegal drug proceeds.  Cash believed to be profits from the illegal drug trade and properties have also been seized as a result of this operation.

The success of this operation could not have been achieved without the assistance and cooperation of numerous law enforcement groups.  

As the operation remains ongoing, no further information can be revealed at this time. A list of the individuals arrested during yesterday's portion of the operation is attached to this e-mail.

“These 51 arrests and indictments were the result of a year-long investigation, which involved cooperation and collaboration between prosecutors from my office, City of Taunton detectives, and State Police detectives,” said Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter.  “Those individuals engaged in illegal drug dealing in Bristol County should know that all of us in law enforcement are committed to finding out whom each and every one of you are, building cases against you and then getting you arrested and convicted.  “

“I want to applaud the efforts of District Attorney Sam Sutter, Taunton Police Chief Edward Walsh and the members of the State Police Unit for their extraordinary efforts in leading the task force to take the drug dealers off our city streets,” said Taunton Mayor Charles Crowley. “A successful operation like this requires teamwork and the citizens of my community are grateful for the team effort displayed during Operation Diesel”

“This operation reflects the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies working in true partnership to address issues of crime in the community,” said Taunton Police Chief Edward James Walsh.  “In a time of diminishing resources, we were able to leverage assets from both agencies to achieve a common goal.  Hopefully this will be one of many future successful collaborations.”