BOSTON – A Dominican national previously residing in Lawrence pleaded guilty today in connection with distributing fentanyl.
Angel Rivera-Valle, a/k/a Jose Antonio Serrano, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Aug. 24, 2020. Rivera-Valle will face deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.
Rivera-Valle has been in custody since his arrest along with co-defendant, Andi Guerrero-Lara, a/k/a “Manny Sierra,” in October 2019; he and Guerrero-Lara were subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in December 2019.
According to court documents, the defendants were members of a drug trafficking organization that regularly sold large quantities of fentanyl and operated in the Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts. Between September and October 2019, an undercover federal agent purchased fentanyl from the defendants on six separate dates.
This case is part of a coordinated enforcement operation in the Merrimack Valley called “Devil’s Highway.” The operation targeted the distribution of opioids, including fentanyl and heroin, and resulted in charges against a total of 40 people for federal drug offenses, with at least a dozen more individuals facing state charges.
The charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and distribution and possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl both carry a minimum mandatory sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million. The charge of distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew Lelling and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division, made the announcement. Assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police and the Andover Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alathea E. Porter of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.