Two Illegal Aliens Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Distribute Hundreds of Grams of Fentanyl in Lawrence


BOSTON – Two Dominican nationals previously residing in Lawrence pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to distribute hundreds of grams of fentanyl in Lawrence.

Jose Manuel Carmona-Mercedes, 32, and Gabriel Carmona-Pimentel, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled sentencing for Jan. 12, 2022. The brothers were indicted in December 2020.

In late 2019, law enforcement identified Carmona-Mercedes and Carmona-Pimentel as large-scale fentanyl dealers operating in Lawrence. On four occasions in January and February 2020, an undercover officer ordered fentanyl from Carmona-Mercedes. After the undercover officer ordered a quantity of fentanyl and negotiated the price, Carmona-Pimentel or Carmona-Mercedes, or both, would deliver the fentanyl to the undercover officer from a base of operations on Lexington Street in Lawrence.

On Feb. 25, 2020, after Carmona-Pimentel delivered 220 grams of fentanyl to the undercover officer, Carmona-Mercedes and Carmona-Pimentel were arrested.

A search of the Lexington Street location resulted in the seizure of 850 grams of fentanyl, 300 grams of cutting agents, documents in Carmona-Mercedes and Carmona-Pimentel’s names, plastic baggies commonly used to package drugs for street-level sales, blenders, suspected cut and digital scales.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of 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 up to $10 million.

The charge of distribution of fentanyl provides for 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 on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Boston Division; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque; and Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Pohl of Mendell’s Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.