Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
BOSTON – A Dominican national was sentenced on Monday, June 28 in federal court in Boston for distributing fentanyl, identity theft and fraudulent use of a Social Security number.
Cesar Lara Castillo, 37, a Dominican national previously residing in Lawrence, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 44 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In October 2020, Castillo pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, one count of false representation of Social Security number and one count of aggravated identity theft.
On July 10, 2019, Castillo arrived at the location of a pre-arranged sale of fentanyl with approximately 53 grams of a substance containing fentanyl, packaged in five “fingers,” or compact cylinders designed for distribution. When Castillo was arrested, he gave police a Massachusetts driver’s license in the name of a United States citizen. Castillo had applied for the driver’s license from the Massachusetts RMV in April 2019, using the personal identifying information of the victim, including their Social Security number.
This case is 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; William S. Walker, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division; Massachusetts State Police; Lawrence Police Department and North Andover Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred M. Wyshak III of Mendell’s Organized Crime & Gang Unit prosecuted the case.