BOSTON — Three members of a violent Brockton drug crew were arrested and charged in connection with operating a fentanyl delivery service. One member of the drug crew remains at large.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling's Office says 33-year-old Placido Armando Pereira, 28-year-old Natalio Miranda and 23-year-old Djoy Defrancesco, all of Brockton, were arrested Wednesday morning and charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl. The defendants were detained following an initial appearance Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Page Kelley.

A fourth defendant, 24-year-old Jason Miranda, of Taunton, remains at large.

As alleged in charging documents, law enforcement began investigating a violent Brockton-area drug crew that distributed large quantities of fentanyl throughout southeastern Massachusetts.

The drug crew, which refers to itself as “HSM,” for “Head Shot Mafia,” ran a fentanyl delivery service that encompassed all of Brockton as well as neighboring cities. Specifically, it is alleged that drug users/customers placed orders for fentanyl by contacting a cellphone maintained and shared by HSM crew members, and that HSM members worked together to deliver the fentanyl order. Beginning in September 2019, agents succeeded in introducing an undercover law enforcement officer to HSM, who made six purchases of fentanyl from members of the crew.

According to the criminal complaint and court records, the defendants have criminal records. In 2017, Pereira was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to three years in prison. In 2010, Pereira was arrested on drug trafficking charges at Logan Airport as he returned to the U.S. from Cape Verde, and later sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On Feb. 20, 2014, Pereira was the target of an assassination attempt in Brockton.

According to court documents, Natalio Miranda sold fentanyl to the undercover officer while on probation for a state drug trafficking offense. Furthermore, Defrancesco sold fentanyl to the undercover officer while on pre-trial release from a Plymouth Superior Court indictment charging him with trafficking in fentanyl, possession of a firearm, and possession of a high capacity feeding device, among other offenses.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Jason Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Brockton Police Chief John Crowley; John Gibbons, U.S. Marshal for the District of Massachusetts; and Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz made the announcement.

Assistance was provided by the East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Whitman and Bridgewater State University Police Departments as well as the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Pohl of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.