Feds Sweep Lawrence, Surrounding Towns, Arrest 34 In Fentanyl Ring

PHOTO: Tom Duggan, (c) copyright 2017, The Valley Patriot

By: Tom Duggan, May 30, 2017
all photos: Tom Duggan
(c) Copyright, 2017 The Valley Patriot

Federal, state, county, and federal law enforcement officials conducted a major drug and immigration sweep in Lawrence Tuesday.

Officials say more than 2 1/2  kilos of fentanyl (representing over 100,000 bags) and six weapons were seized in morning raids that netted 34 arrests. 18 were previously arrested.

Homeland Security announced at a press conference in Boston that 5 of the arrests were illegal aliens who were previously deported and reentered the country. Two illegal aliens were in possession of a firearm.  

A DEA Official said that it was the Largest fentanyl distribution network in Massachusetts. 

A Homeland Security official said that this is only the beginning for Lawrence and the Greater Lawrence area. 

“We are far from done in Lawrence and surrounding cities and towns. We will do everything in our power to stem the flow of drugs in these communities. It was an extraordinary level of cooperation today with the DEA task force, Lawrence, Andover, Lowell police as well as state police, Essex County sheriff and ATF.”

A DEA official said they have wiretaps of the Lawrence drug distribution leaders discussing how to dilute the drug enough so that it is not lethal, but also does not satisfy the drug addicts craving, making them want more. 

“Repeat offenders, people who reenter the country after deportation, is a federal offense. We are going to take that very seriously and we are getting that message out today and every day.”

“As for the calls that are reflected in the papers filed today, you see with great clarity some of the things we have been talking about on fentanyl.”

“It’s a deadly drug. The calls in question were the leaders of the organization discussing how to dilute the drug. Their goal as they state on the wire is that they dilute it enough so the user survives but not enough to satisfy their craving.”

To better understand the gravity of the amount of fentanyl seized today (2 1/2 kilos), the DEA says that a finger (ten bags) of fentanyl costs $400 in Lawrence but those same ten bags cost $600 – $800 in Southern NH, more in Northern NH, and $1,000 per finger in Maine. 

Officials said that they were having a hard time identifying some of those arrested because they had fake ID’s. 

 Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera held a press conference Tuesday afternoon.