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11 implicated as cash, counterfeit money, and heroin are seized from Boston drug ring

A Roslindale man allegedly led a drug ring that also included his brother and his mother, authorities said today, announcing a number of arrests in an investigation that used wiretaps to eavesdrop on the group’s activities.

Dubbed Operation Whirlwind, the investigation implicated a total of 11 people as members or customers of the ring, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said in a statement.

The investigation led to the seizure of some $40,000 in cash, $800 in counterfeit money, two illegal firearms, and just under a kilogram of heroin, prosecutors said.

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Francisco Arias, 32, who authorities allege was the kingpin of the group, was held on $1 million bail on charges of conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws, trafficking heroin, money laundering, and possession of counterfeit money, authorities said. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Arias’s brother, Vladimir Arias-Santana, 28, of Roslindale, is to be arraigned Monday, prosecutors said. He is being held without bail until then and was charged with conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws, possession with intent to distribute a Class A substance, and money laundering, prosecutors said.

Their mother, Nerys Santana, 52, of Roslindale, was released on her own recognizance. She was charged with conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws and money laundering, authorities said. A not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf.

The other suspects were from Hyde Park, Roslindale, the South End, Roxbury, and Lawrence. Seven suspects, including the mother and two sons, were arrested Thursday, and four had previously been arrested in connection with the investigation, authorities said.

During the investigation, police discovered that Arias and one of the other suspects, Elvin Maldonado allegedly moved large amounts of heroin in Boston.

Arias-Santana managed street-level distribution of the drugs, and Santana allegedly allowed her sons to use her Roslindale residence for transactions, authorities said.

Other suspects, including a pair of sisters, who authorities allege were high-level customers, ran their own distribution networks, or aided Arias in his network, authorities said.

The joint investigation involved Boston police, the FBI, and Conley’s office.

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