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Press Release

Leader Of Lawrence-Based Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced To 12 Years In Federal Prison

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

BOSTON – The leader of a Lawrence-based heroin and fentanyl trafficking organization was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with orchestrating a wide-ranging operation that distributed multiple kilos of fentanyl and cocaine to customers in Lawrence and surrounding areas – including New Hampshire and Maine.

Juan Anibal Patrone, 29, a Dominican national formerly residing in Lawrence, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 12 years in prison and five years of supervised release. Patrone will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. In September 2018, Patron pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine, and 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of being an alien in possession of a firearm. Patrone has been in custody since his arrest in May 2017.

In May 2017, a large scale law enforcement operation dismantled two Lawrence-based drug trafficking organizations, one run by Patrone, and another led by Santo Ramon Gonzalez Nival, who was a source of supply for Patrone. Patrone and approximately 28 co-conspirators were arrested, including Gonzalez Nival and nine members of his drug trafficking organization. Gonzalez Nival previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Sept. 21, 2018, to 135 months in prison.

Patrone ran his organization like a business. He bought drugs from suppliers, such as co-conspirator Domingo Gonzalez Martinez, who sold drugs to Patrone out of the Corniel Market in Lawrence. Patrone personally paid rent for stash houses, including 277 Merrimack Street and 20 Cambridge Street in Lawrence, and paid his brother, Josuel Moises Patrone-Gonzalez, and Oscar Marcano, to prepare and package drugs in those stash houses. He ran a crew of couriers, including some who worked in cars, like Luis Lugo and Leonel Vives, and others who walked the street, such as Daniel Diaz and Andruery Fanas Burgos, telling them specifically where to go and who to see. Similarly, Patrone personally directed his redistributors where to go to purchase narcotics to distribute, including Matthew Shover, Stacey Littlefield, Lacey Picariello, Reynaldo Duran Lora, and Rafael Arce – some of whom came from New Hampshire and Maine to obtain drugs to redistribute outside of Massachusetts. Patrone also paid Euclides Alcantara to register and insure his fleet of vehicles in false names, and to carry drug proceeds to the Dominican Republic.

In addition, Patrone openly discussed the size of his drug business with others, including family. In intercepted calls, he admitted that he had worked in the business for seven years and wanted to return to the Dominican Republic, where he planned to get out of the drug business and live well. Investigators learned from these calls that Patrone’s assets are primarily in the Dominican Republic, and the government has undertaken efforts to freeze and forfeit them as part of his sentence in this case. 

Furthermore, during a search of Patrone’s home, agents found a 10mm Auto-Ordnance Corp, loaded with a magazine containing six 10mm rounds of ammunition.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division; and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. The Massachusetts State Police and the Andover, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, and Wilmington Police Departments assisted with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Heinrich of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated May 6, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses