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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2003

Essex County Deputy Sheriff Convicted on
Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges

Boston, MA….An Essex County Deputy Sheriff was convicted Wednesday, June 18, 2003, by a federal trial jury on one count of conspiracy and two counts of using a telephone in furtherance of that conspiracy for his role in facilitating the operations of a large-scale cocaine trafficking organization led by Carlos Bello, formerly of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; Thomas J. Foley, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Frank G. Cousins, Jr., Essex County Sheriff; Thomas F. Reilly, Massachusetts Attorney General and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced that Meraldo LIZARDO, age 34, of 99 Cluff Crossing Road, Salem, New Hampshire, was convicted after thirteen days of trial for conspiring with Carlos Bello and others to distribute cocaine in Lawrence and Fitchburg, Massachusetts and Manchester, New Hampshire.

LIZARDO was suspended without pay from the Essex County Sheriff's Office pending the outcome of the trial.

According to testimony offered during the trial, LIZARDO used his criminal justice training and experience, as well as his office, to aid and protect Bello's drug-trafficking activities. According to one government witness, LIZARDO accessed automated data bases available to the law enforcement community to help Bello and drug traffickers associated with Bello to identify police surveillance vehicles, and to check the criminal records of persons hired by Bello and his associates to distribute drugs. On two separate occasions in December, 1999, witnessed testified that LIZARDO alerted Bello to surveillance being conducted by the Massachusetts State Police in connection with a wiretap investigation of Bello, thus frustrating the goals of the surveillance.

U.S. District Judge Robert E. Keeton scheduled sentencing for Wednesday, October 8, 2003 at 10:00 AM. LIZARDO faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a 5-year mandatory minimum period of incarceration, to be followed by a 4-year term of supervised release, and a fine of up to $2 million.

Bello pleaded guilty on February 28, 2003 to all counts of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack, and the unlawful use of a communication facility. Judge Keeton sentenced Bello to 10 years in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Massachusetts State Police assigned to Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly's Special investigations and Narcotics Unit and by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Press Contact S/A Anthony Pettigrew, 617-557-2138

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