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Press Release

Dominican National Sentenced for Distributing Fentanyl

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

BOSTON – A Dominican national previously residing in Lawrence was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with drug trafficking activities involving fentanyl.

Jesus Maria Aybar Franco, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Sterns to 48 months in prison and will face deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence. In September 2020, Aybar Franco pleaded guilty to one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of fentanyl.

Aybar Franco was arrested on Sept. 12, 2019 after he sold more than 100 grams of a substance containing fentanyl to an undercover law enforcement officer. He has been in custody since the time of his arrest.

Aybar Franco was charged as part of a coordinated enforcement operation in the Merrimack Valley dubbed “Devil’s Highway.” The operation targeted the distribution of opioids, including fentanyl and heroin, and resulted in charges against a total of 40 people for federal drug offenses, with at least a dozen more individuals facing state charges.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The Massachusetts State Police and the Lawrence Police Department assisted in this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason A. Casey of Mendell’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

Updated March 26, 2021

Drug Trafficking