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Press Release

Dominican National Pleads Guilty to Heroin and Fentanyl Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Dominican national pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to his role in a heroin and fentanyl trafficking organization that operated in Taunton and Boston.


Ernesto Jossiel Paredes-Lugo, also known as Juan Morales-Ortiz, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl. In February 2017, Morales-Ortiz was arrested and charged along with 22 other co-defendants.  U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Jan. 25, 2018.


From mid-2016 through February 2017, federal law enforcement investigated two drug trafficking organizations operating in Taunton and Boston led by Jose Antonio Lugo-Guerrero, 32, a Dominican national, and Fernando Hernandez, 42, a Dominican national residing in Providence, R.I.  Hernandez allegedly ran a heroin and fentanyl trafficking organization in Taunton.  The organization sold heroin and fentanyl to customers who re-distributed a portion of the drugs they obtained.  It is alleged that Hernandez obtained drugs from a network of suppliers that included Lugo-Guerrero.


Lugo-Guerrero allegedly operated a drug trafficking organization in Fall River and Boston, assisted by others, including Paredes-Lugo, who sold to numerous customers. It is further alleged that Lugo-Guerrero and his associates obtained a significant quantity of illegal drugs by robbing other drug traffickers.


The conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $1 million.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.


Acting United States Attorney William Weinreb; Michael Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Fall River Police Chief Daniel S. Racine; New Bedford Police Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro; Taunton Police Chief Edward James Walsh; Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans; and Bristol Country District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn made the announcement today.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Heinrich of Weinreb’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.


The details contained in the charging documents are allegations.  The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated November 3, 2017

Drug Trafficking