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More than a Dozen People in Custody Following Early Morning Holyoke Raid

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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) – Over a dozen people, including several that prosecutors allege are part of the La Familia street gang, have been arrested following a pre-dawn raid in Holyoke.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says that eleven of the suspects, ten from Holyoke and one from Springfield, are all facing federal charges of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute heroin or cocaine.

Friday morning’s raid, which Holyoke Police Lt. Matthew Moriarty notes was conducted “citywide,” was a result of a long investigation involving local, state, and federal agencies, including Mass. State Police, FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

The FBI alleges that the apartment building at 556 South Bridge Street in Holyoke was La Familia’s headquarters, where Francisco Diaz lived as the gang leader. 

That was until sun rise Friday, when the Western Mass. Gang Task Force swarmed the neighborhood armed with SWAT gear and arrest warrants.

“When you take off the head of the snake, I think you’ve made a pretty good dent in the operation,” Holyoke Police Chief James Neiswanger said.

Over the years, police say almost every apartment in the building at 556 South Bridge Street has been raided by police.

“For the amount of time we spend down there, personally, I wish it were a parking lot,” Chief Neiswanger said. “That’s the reality of it.”

Police say La Familia is a major player in the local heroin trade. Officers confiscated heroin, cocaine, automatic guns, and $38,000 cash Friday.

Federal prosecutors say that indictments allege that each of the men distributed heroin or cocaine in Holyoke between August 2012 and March 2013, and that Figueroa and Colon also had possession of a firearm and ammunition during that same time period.

“You are really seeing a significant shift in the City of Holyoke, and this is just part of it,” Neiswanger said. “Please realize, this is only one step. The pressure doesn’t stop here.”

FBI Special Agent Mark Karangekis echoed the sentiment, saying “If you are a gang member and you intend on selling drugs or trafficking firearms, the FBI’s Western Mass Gang Task Force, along with it’s partners in the Holyoke Police Department, will be knocking on your door one early morning,” he said.

Charged by the feds Monday morning were:

  • Kelly Arzate, 29, of Holyoke
  • Francisco Dias, 34, of Holyoke
  • Antonio Caraballo, 35, of Holyoke
  • Luzander Montoya, 29, of Holyoke
  • Miguel Medina, 30, of Holyoke
  • William Rodriguez, 28, of Holyoke
  • Pedro Colon, 31, of Holyoke
  • Reynaldo Figueroa, 27, of Holyoke
  • Miguel Alcazar, 23, of Holyoke
  • Edison Lajara, 25, of Holyoke
  • Charlie Santiago, 32, of Springfield

Figueroa and Colon have also been indicted on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm.  Eight of the men are also facing state drug charges.

In a detention affidavit, federal agents allege that Diaz, Caraballo, Rodriguez, Montaya, Medina, Alcazar, and Figueroa are members or associates of the La Familia street gang, which operates in Holyoke, Springfield and other cities.

Also arrested Friday during the raid include:

  • 20-year-old Edward Torres – Charged with two counts of distribution of a Class A substance (Heroin)
  • 45-year-old Yolanda Vargas – Charged with distribution of a Class A substance (Heroin) [Subsequent offense]
  • 35-year-old Ariel Marmolejos – Charged with Resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and several motor vehicle charges
  • 21-year-old Marvin Cruz – Charged with disorderly conduct
  • 26-year-old Luis Santos – Charged with three counts of distribution of a Class A substance (Heroin)
  • 38-year-old Tomas Diaz – Charged with Possession of ammunition and a gun without an FID card
  • 20-year-old Irka Guzman – Charged with Possession of a large capacity weapon, possession of ammunition and a gun without an FID card
Miguel Alcazar, Jr.

Miguel Alcazar, Jr.

Edward Torres

Edward Torres

Yolanda Vargas

Yolanda Vargas

William Rodriguez

William Rodriguez

Marvin Cruz

Marvin Cruz

Antonio Caraballo

Antonio Caraballo

Luis Santos

Luis Santos

Tomas Diaz

Tomas Diaz

Irka Guzman

Irka Guzman

Ariel Marmolejos

Ariel Marmolejos

Francisco Diaz

Francisco Diaz


  • [email protected]

    One day at a time holyoke is small so its easy to show up at one spot of a lot of drug dealers and bag them springfield is big and they are scattered out every were.

  • chance68

    The names tell the story of why Springfield and Holyoke have gone down the drain. Keep bringing them here to replace the low-lifes who got caught.

  • Mjmedina

    @CHANCE68 No one brought them out here the came on their own.. I think holyoke need to follow along with Spfld’s ideas.. Worthington & Federal st. Has been cleaned up security cams have been installed. Sarotoga st & surrounding streets have surveillance cams 1yr from now southend will be cleaned out of scums.. HOLYOKE DO THE SAME…

  • Mjmedina

    South Holyoke needs surveillance cams, community police stations. Holyoke needs help from spfld prop’ty owners that have cleaned up their buildings.. EXAMPLE: Worthington st,federal st, has been extremely controlled from violence & drugs.. Southend is next. Holyoke Wake up.

  • Mjmedina

    Benny they have to start somewhere.. I understand ur point and u rite but one step at a time.. :-)

  • paulb62

    Let’s see what the bail is set at. Chances are they will be back on the streets doing the same thing because the judges say they have rights.

  • Mjmedina

    Lol. Well compared to ten years ago that area of worthington & federal st, is alot” more quieter,calmer etc..

  • jarbear

    Now that they are all pontential felons do they get sll thier free be,s taken awsy or does the state give them more. Dirt bags

  • Emar1970

    All this on a Good Friday that’s sad it starts at home with good values bring your kids to church any church teach them to respect themselves and theology respect our community God Bless them all

  • anjelique

    They are not Mexicans you bunch of idiots they are Puerto Rican get your race right if your going to bring race into it.

    • alpinequeen

      Click on the links and read the article. It says Mexican.

  • anjelique

    I know a few of those retards they weren’t exactly handed an easy life, that’s what we grew up around some of us got away some of us got stuck in it. Stop judging these people why don’t you worry about your own neighborhood bunch of suburban prudes I would love to see you people try growing up In the ghetto where everything is not handed to you. You have to take it. You wouldn’t survive because you would all be the drug addicts buying the shit. Look at the American government before you judge these people. I’m one of the few lucky ones that got away I had to join the army to do that. But like them I dropped out of high school I didn’t have it easy either. I was like them once. Stop worrying about them and worry about your own arse

  • anjelique

    THEY ARE NOT MEXICANS I GREW UP WITH THESE PEOPLE THEY ARE PUERTO RICAN TARD!

  • anjelique

    I GREW UP WITH THEM THEY ARE NOT MEXICAN IF YOU ARE NOT FROM HOLYOKE DON’T TRY TO SAY THEY ARE! THEY ARE PUERTO RICANS I GREW UP IN HOLYOKE I KNOW THEM FOOLS.

  • anjelique

    Omfg do you know what La Familia is? Hmm? That’s not Mexican genius! It’s Puerto Rican. They may get the drugs from Mexicans but they are not Mexican. I know these people

  • my3boys

    This is only 1 of 52 States imagine other states also …. They all have same issues with drugs and the one who said stop the buyers does need a wake up if there wasn’t lazy ass fkers out there that could just get a real paying job all this or most this crime wouldn’t be happening the there wouldn’t be a need for all these clinics which means more money for the state to use on to pay real people that make a living so really think about that ..

  • my3boys

    @ anjelque just do u know u should really read wat alpinequeen wrote in the beginning about mexican cartel he said and way are they hispanic last I checked puerto rican is slang for hispanic so where have you been you day you hung out with them they had a tough life most of them are still growing up 22,24,21, that’s not grown up that’s just age starting to

  • [email protected]

    Its funny I grew up on federal and worthy in springfield in the 80s it was nice kains phamacy was at the cornner m js pizza blue egal memories

  • [email protected]

    Hey a hole I make 28 $ an hour I goto those clinics u speck of that waste money these are normal people that do drugs my dad was a u.s marshal and did drugs now nothing I work evey day of my life I’m a herion addict you think I wanted that as a kid. No I’m clean thanks to those clinics. Addiction is a problem and u would be surprised who I’ve seen doing drugs lawyer s cops doctors all with a problen

  • [email protected]

    Aslo she said real people making a living in those clinics lol head of my clinic got fired sniffing herion. People are smart on hiding it real problem are doctors handing out perks and it starts there its how you view things le ts say the government handed out herion it wohldent be illegal well that’s what doctors do hand scrips out a bag of herion is 4 dollars 5 tines stronger then a 10 mg perk I pray they find a cure out statistic ly 1 out of your three boys wjll have an addiction