Thirteen people are facing federal drug charges for their alleged involvement with a street gang that moved fentanyl, cocaine and other drugs from Massachusetts into Maine and New Hampshire.

Two defendants also are charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping for allegedly planning to rough up a Maine man whom they believed had stolen a dog from one of them.

“We’re gonna traumatize him real quick and take like $30,000,” Justin “Chachi” Suriel of Methuen, Massachusetts, said on a call intercepted by federal investigators and transcribed in an affidavit.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced the arrests Wednesday and said they stemmed from an investigation that started in August 2020 into the Gangster Disciples gang operating in the Lawrence area. Prosecutors said authorities ultimately seized four gallon-sized bags of counterfeit Adderall pills containing methamphetamine, and another of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl.

“These defendants allegedly trafficked drugs of all kinds, making money at the expense of addicts and dragging down our community,” acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Nathaniel Mendell said in a statement. “Today’s arrests stop a poly-drug pipeline that supplied street-level dealing across New England.”

Prosecutors in Maine and Massachusetts did not respond to questions via email Thursday. The cases will proceed in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Twelve of the defendants are identified as Massachusetts residents; one has a Florida address.


The two men accused in the kidnapping plot are Suriel, 25, and Steven “Doofy” Rios, 24, of North Andover, Massachusetts.

Court documents state that agents arrested Suriel in May and charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is now facing additional charges related to the alleged drug trafficking. A New Hampshire attorney appointed to represent Suriel did not respond to an email Thursday.

Rios was arrested this week and has not yet appeared in court, and he does not have a defense attorney listed in the federal docket.

The affidavit says federal agents got court authorization to wiretap multiple phones for months as part of their investigation, and those recorded calls provided evidence of the trafficking operation and also uncovered the kidnapping plot.

The document includes a transcript of a phone conversation in February 2021 between two other defendants about distributing drugs in Maine.

“We could get rich out there,” one says.


The extent of their alleged trafficking in the state is not clear in the affidavit, however, and prosecutors did not respond Thursday to a question about the operation in Maine.

Agents also said in the affidavit that they intercepted another call in October 2020 between Suriel and Rios that alerted them to the planned kidnapping. The day before, Rios had called local police to report that someone had broken into his house and stolen one of his dogs. Then he called Suriel to say he thought he knew who had done it because he’d found “his Maine sweater” nearby.

“I want my dog back, Chachi,” Rios said, according to the affidavit. “He got my dog. Who cares about the drugs?”

The affidavit includes their exchange as they planned to arrange a meeting in Massachusetts with the man to buy drugs and then attack him. It quotes Suriel as saying they would put the man in his basement and hold him captive. The document includes another call between the two men a couple of days later as they finalized their plans, and a call Suriel made to his mother to ask her to babysit while he went to help Rios.

Investigators observed Rios and others gathering near his home, and then they tracked the Maine man’s phone as he started traveling south from Portland. The affidavit says agents then stopped the car, seized two pounds of marijuana and informed the man that there was “a threat to his safety.” He and two other people in the car were released, and it is not clear whether he ever faced criminal charges as a result of the stop.

“Based on the interception of Victim 1, I believe agents thwarted the planned kidnapping,” FBI Special Agent Dustin Poulin wrote in the affidavit.

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