Superintendent Lavallee was tight-lipped about what police were up to when a SWAT Team surrounded a home at 352 Lawrence Street last week.
He said only that police were seeking to arrest several individuals on warrants.
Tonight I found out what police were up to.
On Monday at about 3:30 p.m., city police, Fitchburg Police, and a members of a state police STOP Team quietly went to 19 Lunenburg Street in Fitchburg, and arrested Joshua Ramos, 22, of 352 Lawrence St., Lowell.
Ramos is the alleged ringleader of a group of men in Lowell who are now accused of selling cocaine, heroin, and firearms, and who Lavallee said are believed to be responsible for numerous shots fired incidents in Lowell this year.
“We felt they were an extremely dangerous group of individuals who had access to firearms and would not hesitate to use them,” Lavallee told me tonight. “We feel they were responsible for numerous shots-fired incidents in the city over the last several months.”
Now that Ramos is in custody and being held pending his arraignment in Lowell District Court Tuesday morning, Lavallee revealed that four men from the group have been arrested so far.
From left to right, above, are the four men arrested so far: Joshua Ramos, 22, of 352 Lawrence St.; Jason Otero, 19, of 96 Lane St.; Jefferson Borrero, 18, of 49 Second St.; and Steven Hernandez, 19, who is homeless.
I’m not sure what was seized where, but as police arrested these four men over the days that have passed since Tuesday, they also seized six handguns, a sawed-off shotgun, over 100 grams of cocaine, over 28 grams of heroin, and over $25,000 in cash, Lavallee said.
Lavallee wouln’t tell me if the group has been linked to specific incidents of violence, but Otero was also arrested on April 13 of this year, following a series of shots fired incidents in the Acre that led to a neighborhood meeting and a lot of concern among residents.
He was arrested, along with another man, following a shots fired incident that I blogged about.
“There is a very strong nexus between firearms incidents and drug trafficking,” Lavallee told me tonight. “We needed to get this group off the streets as quickly as possible.”
Lavallee gave particular credit for this investigation, which has been underway since Spring, to Capt. Jack Webb and Detective Lt. Barry Golner, who heads the Vice Unit. State Police and the FBI also took part in the investigation.
I’m told police are now processing the weapons seized in this investigation to see if they can be linked to specific incidents around the city. Lavallee wouldn’t tell me if any of these guys are already linked to specific incidents.
The list of charges against these guys is too long to list here, so if you’re interested please download this pdf file listing them all.
More arrests are expected.