Lawrence Woman Convicted in Fentanyl Trafficking Conspiracy
BOSTON – A Lawrence woman has been convicted by a federal jury in Boston of drug trafficking offenses in connection with her role in a fentanyl trafficking conspiracy.
Danybelkis Vasquez-Rodrigue, 28, was convicted on Aug. 30, 2022 following a five-day trial of one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. U.S. District Court Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Dec. 13, 2022. Vasquez-Rodrigue was indicted in January 2021 along with co-conspirator Saury Rodriguez-Ruiz.
“Ms. Vasquez-Rodrigue was involved in a conspiracy that pumped fentanyl into our communities and profited off of the immense harm and pain it caused,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Drug traffickers across the United States pose a serious, existential threat to public safety. Last year in our Commonwealth alone, opioids stole the lives of more than 2,000 people. Those who make a living off poisoning our communities, like Ms. Vasquez-Rodrigue, will be identified, prosecuted and held accountable. This conviction should make that point clear.”
“Removing Danybelkis Vasquez-Rodrigue from the streets, along with the deadly poison peddled by this drug trafficking organization in the city of Lawrence will prevent them from continuing to endanger public health and safety,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “This case is indicative of the success that can be attained when agencies combine resources to put drug traffickers out of business and behind bars, as we work together to dismantle criminal enterprises that profit from flooding our neighborhoods with illicit drugs.”
In November 2020, law enforcement began an investigation into Rodriguez-Ruiz, who had been identified as a Lawrence-based drug supplier. On Nov. 24, 2020, Rodriguez-Ruiz distributed nearly one kilogram of fentanyl to a cooperating witness. In exchange for the fentanyl, Vasquez-Rodrigue collected $42,000 from the cooperating witness. Vasquez-Rodrigue then transmitted those drug proceeds to the fentanyl supplier in Mexico via small payments to multiple individuals through local money remitting businesses.
On May 26, 2022, Rodriguez-Ruiz pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 9, 2022.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division, made the announcement. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Strike Force including the Norfolk County Sherriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alathea E. Porter and Stephen W. Hassink of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the case.
This effort 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.