FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2005
TWO MEN SENTENCED
IN HEROIN OVERDOSE CASE
INVOLVING THE DEATH OF A 19 YEAR OLD WILMINGTON MAN
Boston, MA... Two men were sentenced in federal court late yesterday
in a case arising out of the heroin overdose death of a 19 year-old Wilmington
man in 2002.
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
in New England; United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; and Robert Spencer,
Chief of the Wilmington Police Department, announced that DANIEL STELLA and
SAUL MELENDEZ were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert Keeton to lengthy
prison terms as a result of their trafficking of heroin that resulted in the
February, 2002 death of Matthew Lessard of Wilmington, Massachusetts. STELLA,
age 37, of Lawrence, was sentenced to 114 months in prison. MELENDEZ, age 31,
of Methuen, was sentenced to108 months in prison.
On February 20, 2002 Wilmington Police Department discovered the body
of 19 year-old Matthew Lessard at a residence in Wilmington. The Massachusetts
Medical Examiner subsequently determined that Lessard had died from acute
opiate intoxication. Heroin and certain drug implements were found with
Lessard at the time of his death.
STELLA, MELENDEZ and a third man were thereafter identified as the
source of the
heroin that killed Matthew Lessard. MELENDEZ and STELLA were charged
with conspiracy to distribute heroin and heroin distribution after heroin
purchases were made from STELLA and after a search warrant was executed
at MELENDEZ’s residence. That search resulted in the seizure of
heroin, marijuana, ammunition, cash, and large amounts of drug processing
equipment secreted in a “hide” located on the rear porch
of the house.
Both men thereafter
pled guilty to the charges against them. As part of their pleas, MELENDEZ
and STELLA each agreed not to contest the government’s
assertion that heroin they sold resulted in Lessard’s death.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s
Cross Border Initiative Task Force and the Wilmington Police Department.