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Two more men convicted in Watertown drug ring case

Posted by Brock Parker  June 20, 2013 08:09 PM

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A federal jury has found two more men guilty in a case of an organized drug operation that had a hub in Watertown and spanned across the country and into Canada.

Wednesday, Ronald Martinez, 27, of Dorchester, and Karapet Dzhanikyan, 33, of Watertown, were convicted by a jury of drug charges in U.S. District Court in Boston, according to U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office. They are two of 20 people who have been caught up in the federal probe.

Martinez was convicted of conspiracy to collect debt by extortionate means and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Dzhanikyan was convicted of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, according Ortiz’s office.

The two men were charged as part of the federal investigation that accused Safwan “Sammy” Madarati, 38, a Watertown resident, of being the ringleader of a drug operation that conspired to distribute 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, cocaine, and oxycodone.

Investigators seized more than $3.3 million, seven gold bars, weapons and 80 pounds of marijuana during the investigation.

Madarati pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the investigation on June 13 and is due back in court in Boston to be sentenced on Sept. 5, according to Ortiz’s office.

His plea came shortly after a former Watertown police officer, Roberto Velasquez-Johnson, 45, pleaded guilty in federal court in late May to tipping off Madarati to a federal investigation and providing him sensitive information, including the home addresses of two fellow officers. Madarati was fired by the Watertown Police Department in November 2010 for unrelated misconduct issues.

Another man charged with money laundering in connection to the case, Nicholas Anthis, is scheduled for trial in October and five other men caught up in the investigation are now fugitives, according to Ortiz’s office.

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