SALEM – A Lawrence man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to state prison for trafficking fentanyl, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Luis Baez, age 25, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Essex Superior Court to two counts of Trafficking Fentanyl. After the plea was entered, Judge Timothy Q. Feeley sentenced Baez to three years to three-and-half years in state prison, with two years of probation to serve upon his release. In sentencing Baez, Judge Feeley noted that fentanyl has been identified as being directly responsible for the dramatic increase in fatal overdoses in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
“This defendant trafficked hundreds of lethal doses of a drug that is claiming the lives of people across our state,” said AG Healey. “Working with our law enforcement partners is critical to disrupt these fentanyl trafficking networks and get this deadly drug off our streets.”
Wednesday’s sentence is the result of a joint investigation with the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, the State Police Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency/Manchester District Office, and the Lawrence Police Department.
In July 2017, authorities began an investigation into an alleged drug trafficking operation they believed was distributing heroin and fentanyl in Lawrence. Baez was originally arrested in August 2017 in connection with that investigation.
The AG’s Office indicted Baez in Essex Superior Court in December 2017 on charges of fentanyl trafficking in connection with participating in the sale of more than 150 grams of fentanyl in Lawrence.
Luis Rodriguez, age 27, also of Lawrence, was also indicted in connection with this investigation. The case against him is pending in Essex Superior Court.
The AG’s Office has committed a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to form a Fentanyl Strike Force. In partnership with the Massachusetts State Police, the task force targets heroin and fentanyl traffickers and dismantles their distribution networks across Massachusetts. The funds expand the AG’s Office’s own drug enforcement work and have helped build enhanced partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lynn Brennan, of AG Healey’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crimes Division. The case was investigated by the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, the State Police Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team, the DEA/Manchester District Office, and the Lawrence Police Department.