Investigators say the arrests took place early Wednesday following a 15-month investigation into narcotics-trafficking and money laundering in New England. The arrests were made in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.
A news release on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's website states:
The investigation revealed two overlapping conspiracies centered in New London County, one involving heroin distribution and one involving cocaine distribution.
The two conspiracies employed a variety of methods to import narcotics from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico into southeastern Connecticut, and involved a network of individuals who distributed wholesale amounts of drugs to customers in New London County [Connecticut]. In association with today's arrests, law enforcement officers seized narcotics, firearms, cash and vehicles.
More than 700 federal, state and local authorities were involved in executing the arrests. Investigators say 53 people were arrested on charges related to federal narcotics and money laundering, while another 50 were nabbed on state narcotics and related charges.
"We allege that the defendants arrested today were responsible for a very large percentage of the heroin and cocaine available for street sale in New London County," U.S. Attorney David B. Fein said in a statement.
If convicted, some of the individuals could face a minimum of five to 10 years in prison.