Lawrence trio charged with 'major' heroin, fentanyl trafficking

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Aug. 30—BOSTON — Three Lawrence men were indicted in connection with a major heroin and fentanyl trafficking operation after a state and federal probe spanning more than a year, authorities said.

Six kilograms of fentanyl and heroin and two illegal firearms were seized during the investigation, state Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

Francis Bienvenido Arias Soto, 39, Pedro Pagan, 32, and Jose Gonzalez, 43, were recently indicted by the Essex County grand jury.

Arias Soto was indicted on two counts of trafficking heroin and fentanyl, 200 grams or more, 13 counts of trafficking fentanyl, 36 to 100 grams, and conspiracy to violate drug laws, according to information released by Healey's office.

Pagan was charged with trafficking 200 grams or more of heroin and fentanyl, two counts, 11 counts of trafficking fentanyl, 36 to 100 grams, conspiracy to violate controlled drug laws, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, unlawful possession of a large capacity feeding device and two counts of illegal possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, Healey said.

Gonzalez was charged with two counts of trafficking more than 200 grams of heroin or fentanyl, two counts of trafficking 36 to 100 grams of fentanyl and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

The trio, originally arrested in March, face arraignment in the near future in Salem Superior Court.

They were originally arrested in March after an investigation by Massachusetts state troopers assigned to Healey's office, the Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team (CINRET) North, the Drug Enforcement Administration's Manchester, N.H. District Office, the New Hampshire Attorney General's Drug Task Force, and the New Hampshire State Police Narcotics Investigations Unit, with assistance from the Essex County Sheriff's Department and the Methuen Police Department.

During the execution of a search warrant at a Lawrence apartment, law enforcement seized approximately five kilograms of heroin/fentanyl and two firearms, one of which had an obliterated serial number and one with a large capacity magazine. The seizures followed a series of more than 20 undercover drug buys of more than 1.3 kilograms of fentanyl/heroin in Massachusetts and New Hampshire during an investigation that spanned 13 months, according to information provided by Healey.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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