“These defendants actively participated in a violent scheme to kidnap, beat and terrorize a victim who they incorrectly believed was working with law enforcement.”

Three men are facing charges related to their alleged involvement in a violent kidnapping and a drug trafficking organization that operated on Cape Cod and in Rhode Island. 

Following a five-day trial, Anthony Basilici, 39, of Pawtucket, R.I. was convicted last week of drug trafficking charges, illegal possession and use of a gun in connection with drug trafficking, kidnapping conspiracy, witness intimidation, and witness retaliation conspiracy. 

Edwin Otero, 33, of Hyannis, and Justin Joseph, 35, of Pawtucket, R.I. each pleaded guilty before Basilici’s trial to drug trafficking charges, possession of a gun in connection to drug trafficking, kidnapping conspiracy, and witness retaliation conspiracy. Otero also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and to a charge of witness intimidation, according to U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office

“For years, members of Edwin Otero’s drug crew plagued the Cape Cod and Pawtucket communities with their heroin operation and the serious, violent crimes it fueled. These defendants actively participated in a violent scheme to kidnap, beat and terrorize a victim who they incorrectly believed was working with law enforcement,” Rollins said in a statement.

Law enforcement began investigating a drug trafficking operation allegedly led by Otero in 2018. They learned that Otero, Joseph, and Basilici, among others, helped distribute large amounts of heroin throughout Cape Cod and the Pawtucket, R.I. region. Their Cape Cod operations largely centered around the towns of Hyannis, Mashpee, and Barnstable, officials said. 

Prosecutors said that, as part of the operation, the three men committed a shooting in May 2019 related to a drug debt owed by a customer.

Before that, in April 2019, the three allegedly lured a victim from Massachusetts to Rhode Island where they then kidnapped and forcibly held him. Otero, Joseph, and Basilici stripped the victim naked, assaulted him, and threatened to rape him, prosecutors said. The three men discussed physically harming the victim because they believed he was cooperating with law enforcement. 

“This conviction not only holds these three men accountable for their crimes but serves as a warning to those traffickers who are fueling the opioid epidemic with deadly drugs in order to profit and destroy people’s lives. DEA’s top priority is combatting the opioid epidemic and the violent acts that often accompany it by working with our local, county, state and federal partners to bring to justice anyone who distributes this poison,” Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division, said in a statement. 

Otero, Joseph, and Basilici were initially charged in May 2019 on drug charges. Police found heroin, packaging materials, scales, a finger press, and three guns and ammunition, including a 9-millimeter assault-style weapon, in Otero’s grandmother’s house, officials said. 

Otero, Joseph, and Basilici were indicted in connection with the violent kidnapping and related charges in May 2020. Two other people, Cameron Cartier and Albert Lee, were also indicted at the time. Cartier and Lee previously pleaded guilty. 

“This case is a prime example of how drug trafficking activities drive violence in our neighborhoods,” Rollins said in a statement. “Thanks to the exceptional work by our investigative partners and prosecution team, this violent criminal enterprise has been brought to its knees – bringing peace and safety back to the Cape Cod and Pawtucket neighborhoods it once terrorized.”


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