Joint Operation Targeting Gun Traffickers Results in 9 Arrests, Seizures of Weapons and Drugs

This morning, teams of federal, state, and local police fanned out across the Worcester area to execute nine arrest warrants following a long-term investigation into gun and narcotics trafficking. During the course of the joint investigation, police purchased nine guns, multiple rounds of ammunition, and a large quantity of narcotics from the nine targets.

Weapons purchased during the investigation included several handguns, two shotguns, and an assault rifle with a 100-round capacity drum magazine. Subsequent searches of target addresses resulted in the seizures of several more guns, including two assault rifles.

The investigation and this morning’s take downs were undertaken by Massachusetts State Troopers, Worcester and Auburn Police, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Deputy United States Marshals.

Eight of the defendants were arrested on state warrants and will be prosecuted by the office of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. They are as follow, with charges as listed in the warrants:

  1. DORAN A. BRYAN, 27, of Worcester, charged with trafficking of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, and distribution of a Class B substance (cocaine);
  2. DOMINIQUE L. BRYAN, 26, of Worcester, charged with trafficking of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, and distribution of a Class B substance (cocaine);
  3. CRUZ A. RIOS, 28, of Worcester, charged with trafficking of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and distribution of a Class B substance (cocaine);
  4. MARIO E. ROSARIO, 42, of Worcester, charged with trafficking in firearms and unlawful possession of firearms;
  5. JORGE L. LOPEZ-ROSARIO, 25, of Worcester, charged with trafficking of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and distribution of a Class B substance (cocaine);
  6. THOMAS R. GENEVA, 25, of Auburn, charged with trafficking in firearms;
  7. AUSTIN W. ESPEY, 32, of Worcester, charged with trafficking of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, possession of a large capacity magazine, and distribution of a Class B substance (cocaine); and
  8. YEINNOR NIEVES-PIZZARO, 35, of Worcester, charged with distribution of cocaine.

Additionally, a ninth target of the operation will be prosecuted federally by the United States Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts.

During the execution of a search warrant subsequent to the arrests, an arrest team today found and seized two additional assault rifles and a pistol, along with a quantity of crack cocaine, inside defendant DOMINIQUE BRYAN’s residence on Raymond Street in Worcester. Another arrest team found and seized four additional pistols from defendant ESPEY’s residence on Thenius Street in Worcester.  A third team searching GENEVA’s home on Linda Avenue in Auburn seized a quantity of drugs believed to be oxycodone and gun parts that, the investigation suggests, he was using to build guns for illegal sale. Additional charges will be added against those targets reflecting those seized items.

Numerous Massachusetts State Police units took part in the investigation and today’s take downs, including the Crime Gun Unit, Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Gang Unit, Worcester County Detective Unit, and Special Tactical Operations Team. As well, Worcester Police detectives, uniformed officers, Gang Unit, and SWAT participated in the investigation and arrests, as did ATF special agents. Deputy US Marshals and Auburn Police also served on the arrest teams.

“Guns and drugs are the biggest public safety threats facing our cities, and today’s operation struck a heavy blow against nine people who made a living off feeding those threats,” Massachusetts State Police Colonel Richard D. McKeon said. “Today’s arrests and the investigation that led to them are a shining example of the united front from which various law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts combat gun and drug traffickers.”

Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent added: “This investigation demonstrates how effective our partnership is between the local, state, and federal agencies. When we work together, we effectively are able to target dangerous individuals and remove illegal firearms from our streets. We believe these arrests will have a long-term impact on reducing violent crime in our neighborhoods.  I am thankful and proud of the hard work that went into this operation.”

ATF Boston Office Special Agent-in-Charge Mickey Leadingham said: “ATF’s primary focus is protecting the public by reducing violent crime. ATF continues to aggressively pursue violent offenders and will continue to protect and serve communities with our law enforcement partners.”

The eight defendants charged on state warrants will be arraigned by Worcester prosecutors today or tomorrow in Worcester Superior Court. Worcester District Attorney Early noted that the arrests will make the county’s cities and towns safer.

“Thank you to Col. McKeon, Chief Sargent, the ATF and all their men and women who worked together to get guns out of the hands of some of our worst offenders and off the street,” District Attorney Early said. “This is truly what public safety is all about – working together to make our communities safe.”

John Gibbons, the United States Marshal for the District of Massachusetts, stated: “The U.S. Marshals Service is committed to collaborating with our law enforcement partners to take these dangerous gun and drug traffickers off our streets. The arrests of these individuals today will have direct impact on the safety of our communities.”

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