Nearly nine kilograms of fentanyl seized, including approximately 48,000 fentanyl pills
BOSTON – A Lawrence man has been charged for allegedly distributing counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl, made using multiple pill press machines.
Miguel Angel Fajardo, 32, was charged by an Information with one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. Fajardo was previously arrested and charged by criminal complaint on March 25, 2022 and has remained in custody since.
According to the charging documents, law enforcement allegedly seized approximately 7.3 kilograms worth of fentanyl pills, an industrial pill press and “M” and “30” pill stamps consistent with markings on pharmaceutical-grade Oxycodone pills in Fajardo’s apartment. Pill stamps are commonly used to make counterfeit pills appear to be legitimate pharmaceutical-grade pills. Also inside Fajardo’s apartment, law enforcement allegedly found approximately 1.4 kilograms of fentanyl powder, two individual finger presses, 50 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition concealed in a microwave, four kilograms of cutting agent and two air purifying respirators – which are commonly used when working with fentanyl powder. It is further alleged that investigators located two one-kilogram pill press machines and another large pill press in the landing outside the apartment.
“The opioid crisis remains a clear and present danger to our community, claiming over two thousand lives in Massachusetts in 2021 alone,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Mr. Fajardo allegedly possessed a staggering quantity of fentanyl – almost nine kilograms – and a clandestine laboratory outfitted with all the tools and materials necessary to press fentanyl into counterfeit pills. By seizing nearly 48,000 such pills along with the tools we believe Mr. Fajardo used to make them, our law enforcement partners likely saved countless lives.”
“Fentanyl is causing great damage to our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. “Those who distribute this lethal drug are endangering the safety of the citizens of Massachusetts. This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative local, county and state law enforcement efforts in Massachusetts and our strong partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
The charge of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
U.S. Attorney Rollins, DEA SAC Boyle and Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Estes of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.