Lawrence Man Charged with Distributing Heroin
BOSTON – A Lawrence man was charged today in federal court in Boston with distributing 100 grams or more of heroin.
Orlando Breton Mercado, 43, was indicted by a federal grand jury for distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. Mercado was originally arrested and charged by criminal complaint on Nov. 20, 2018, and has been in custody since.
According to the charging documents, in July 2018, federal agents began investigating Mercado for drug trafficking, and on Nov. 20, 2018, they conducted an undercover controlled purchase from Mercado of nearly one kilogram of heroin. Mercado was subsequently arrested.
The charge of distribution of 100 grams or more of heroin carries a minimum mandatory sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew Lelling and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Assistance was provided by the Salem Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alathea E. Porter of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.