Lawrence man sentenced for role in fentantyl ring

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Jun. 10—LAWRENCE — A city man indicted in connection with a federal Merrimack Valley opioid sting dubbed "Devil's Highway" has been sentenced to time served, along with five months of home confinement and three years of supervised release for his role in the drug-running operation, officials said.

Jose A. Ventura, 39, of Lawrence, was sentenced Tuesday in a Boston federal court for distributing and possessing fentanyl after pleading guilty in November 2019 to one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute the drug. United States District Court Judge William G. Young sentenced him to time served, in addition to home confinement and supervised release.

According to court documents, investigators witnessed Ventura selling approximately 10 grams of fentanyl in a "street-level drug transaction." When authorities approached Ventura, he threw five additional bags of fentanyl on the ground, the court records indicate. All told, the drugs attributable to Ventura were measured to be 15 grams.

Ventura was one of 40 people federally charged during the "Devil's Highway" drug ring that targeted the distribution of opioids like fentanyl and heroin, law enforcement officials said. At least a dozen more individuals are facing state charges in connection with the operation.

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