Holyoke man arraigned on drug trafficking charges


Managing Editor
Published: 4/19/2021 2:15:08 PM

A 28-year-old Holyoke man was arraigned in federal court on Friday on charges of selling more than 20,000 bags of heroin and fentanyl during several FBI undercover operations, including one that led to a car chase and his arrest in the Brattleboro area.

Matthew A. Oquendo pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking heroin and fentanyl in U.S. District Court in Vermont and is being detained pending trial, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont.

According to court records, the FBI used a confidential source to purchase heroin and fentanyl from Oquendo as part of a monthslong investigation. Prosecutors allege an FBI confidential source purchased approximately 2,000 bags of fentanyl from Oquendo for $4,000 on March 8. Five days later, the source purchased approximately 20,000 bags of heroin from Oquendo for $40,000 in the parking lot of House of Pizza in Brattleboro.

After the latter deal, prosecutors allege Oquendo realized that the $40,000 was fake money and attempted to chase down the confidential source’s vehicle, prompting a pursuit by federal agents that ultimately resulted in an FBI officer ramming Oquendo’s car.

Oquendo fled the area in his vehicle after the collision, allegedly speeding through an intersection and into oncoming traffic, causing law enforcement officers to cease their pursuit, according to court documents.

Authorities found Oquendo’s vehicle in Guilford, Vermont, and with the assistance of a K-9, found Oquendo hiding in a wooded area.

A grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Oquendo for distributing fentanyl and for distributing 100 grams or more of heroin on April 8.

The FBI, the FBI Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force, the Vermont Drug Task Force, the Vermont State Police, and the Easthampton Police Department Drone Unit are investigating the case while the Brattleboro Police Department provided assistance with the investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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