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Press Release

Lawrence Man Sentenced for Fentanyl Conspiracy

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

BOSTON – A Lawrence man pleaded guilty and was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with drug trafficking activities involving fentanyl.

Ronyel Pena, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, two counts of distribution of and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, one count of distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Sterns then sentenced Pena to one year and one day in prison and four years of supervised release.

According to court documents, beginning in the spring of 2019, federal agents began an investigation into a drug trafficking organization (DTO) in the Lawrence area. Between April and June 2019, federal agents made five controlled purchases of fentanyl from the DTO. Pena delivered the fentanyl for four of the five controlled purchases. 

Pena was charged as part of a coordinated enforcement operation in the Merrimack Valley dubbed “Operation 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; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division made the announcement today. The Massachusetts State Police and the Lawrence Police Department assisted in this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alathea Porter of Mendell’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated May 13, 2021

Drug Trafficking