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News Release
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.

 

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