Lawrence Man Sentenced to Prison for Heroin Trafficking
BOSTON – A Lawrence man was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Boston for trafficking heroin in Haverhill.
Jonathan Santiago, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris to two years in prison and three years of supervised release. In December 2015, Santiago pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute and distributing heroin.
On three occasions, between Nov. 19 and Dec. 1, 2014, Santiago sold drugs to a cooperating witness in Haverhill. Santiago sold a combined 18.3 grams of heroin in the first and second sales. On the third occasion, he sold 17.8 grams of fentanyl. Fentanyl is similar to heroin and morphine, but 30-50 times more powerful. When taken in the same dosage as heroin, fentanyl can cause overdose or death.
The case is part of Operation Zero Tolerance, a joint federal and state investigation of gang-related criminal activity in and around Haverhill focusing particularly on opiate-related drug overdoses. As part of the investigation, law enforcement identified Santiago as an associate of Haverhill gang members.
This case was prosecuted as part of the federal response to New England’s opioid crisis. In 2014, the year in which Santiago was dealing heroin and fentanyl, more than 1,000 people in Massachusetts died of opiate overdoses. In fact, since 2005, more Massachusetts residents have been killed by opiate-related overdoses than in car accidents.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy E. Moran of Ortiz’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit.