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Press Release

Mexican Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Re-Entering the United States and Trafficking Fentanyl

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

BOSTON – A Mexican man residing in Lawrence pleaded guilty yesterday to possessing fentanyl intended for distribution and to illegally re-entering the United States after deportation.

Jesus Gracielo Garcia-Vega a/k/a Jonathan Ivan Badillo-Hernandez, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, and one count of unlawful re-entry of a deported alien. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for July 26, 2023. Garcia-Vega was initially charged by criminal complaint in March 2022 and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2022. Garcia-Vega was again charged in a superseding indictment in June 2022 and in a superseding information in January 2023.

On March 23, 2022, Garcia-Vega gave a sample of fentanyl to a confidential source working with law enforcement. During that transaction, Garcia-Vega agreed to sell fentanyl the next day to the confidential source. On March 24, 2022, Garcia-Vega drove to the Premium Outlets in Wrentham with a kilogram of fentanyl inside a laundry bag, intending to sell it to the confidential source.  Garcia-Vega was later stopped by police on I-495 in Westford and arrested.  Subsequent investigation determined that Garcia-Vega had been deported from the United States on March 23, 2016, after which he unlawfully re-entered the country.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to life of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of unlawful reentry of a deported alien provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. 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 Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division made the announcement today. Valuable assistance in the investigation was provided by the Massachusetts State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel R. Feldman of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 21, 2023

Drug Trafficking