DA: 21 people arrested in connection with large scale drug, firearm operation in Lowell

LOWELL, Mass. — 21 people were arrested in connection with a large-scale investigation into the possession of illegal firearms and drugs in the city of Lowell and surrounding communities, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced on Tuesday during a press conference.

The arrests were made at multiple locations Tuesday morning as a result of a multi-agency investigation that took place over several years, according to Ryan. As a result of the 32 search warrants executed, police seized 11 guns, hundreds of grams of cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, Xanax, and over $100,000.

“This was a very large-scale operation,” Ryan said.

Lowell Police in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies conducted multiple undercover narcotic purchases since 2019 which helped them identify several individuals suspected of being involved in a larger-scale drug supply chain.

“We basically took out an organization that was distributing an estimated five kilos of cocaine on the streets of the Merrimack Valley each week,” Lowell Police Chief Barry Golner said.

“We wanted to shut down 250 kilos a year, so where are they getting what they’re bringing in here and where are they keeping it?” Ryan said. “This really disrupts a lot of the supply chains, if you will.”

In October 2022, Superior Court Justice issued a wiretap warrant authorizing the interception of electronic communications relating to drug trafficking where prosecutors gathered evidence that Hector Arriaga, 33 of Lowell was allegedly leading and operating a drug trafficking enterprise, called the “Cocaine Cowboys.”

The individuals charged are expected to appear in Lowell District Court Wednesday.

This is an ongoing investigation and evidence is still being processed. Additional charges are possible.

For a full list of people involved and their charges click here.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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