Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
BOSTON – A Lawrence man pleaded guilty on Oct. 27, 2023 to his role in a trafficking fentanyl conspiracy.
Francis Manuel Santos Arias, 24, pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for Jan. 31, 2024.
Arias was indicted by a federal grand jury along with Eddy Reyes Tejada in December 2022.
In January 2022, law enforcement received information that Arias and Tejada were looking for customers to whom they could distribute cocaine and fentanyl in the greater Boston and Lawrence areas. Over the course of the investigation, Arias sold fentanyl to cooperating witnesses on three separate occasions: 55 grams of fentanyl on Jan. 28, 2022; nearly 100 grams of fentanyl on March 7, 2022; and 460 grams of fentanyl on March 28, 2022.
On July 20, 2023, Tejada pleaded guilty to his role in the fentanyl trafficking conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 21, 2023.
The charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and of distribution of fentanyl each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction; and John E. Mawn, Jr. Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today. The Fitchburg and Lunenburg Police Departments, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Massachusetts State Police provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alathea Porter of the Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.