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Press Release

Natick Man Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Overdose victim found in defendant’s apartment

BOSTON – A Natick man was sentenced yesterday in connection with fentanyl trafficking. During a search of the defendant’s apartment the body of a missing 24-year-old woman who had died of a drug overdose was discovered.

Rafael Ashworth, 29, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge William G. Young to six years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. The government recommended a sentence of 10 – 12 years in prison. In February 2024, Ashworth was convicted following a six-day jury trial of one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. 

“This case serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of drug trafficking on our communities. Mr. Ashworth’s conduct not only exposed our communities to dangerous drugs, it contributed to the tragic loss of a vibrant young woman,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to combat drug trafficking and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

“Fentanyl is causing deaths in record numbers in Massachusetts and DEA’s top priority is to aggressively pursue anyone who distributes this poison,” said Stephen Belleau, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division. “This sentence not only holds Mr. Ashworth accountable for his crimes but serves as a warning to those traffickers who are fueling the opioid epidemic.”

Police found a deceased woman in Ashworth’s apartment after receiving a report of an overdose death. Approximately 100 grams of a substance containing fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin, counterfeit Xanax pills containing etizolam, an illegal benzodiazepine, a large metal press used for pressing counterfeit narcotic pills, kilograms of pill-making material and other paraphernalia associated with drug packaging and distribution were also located in the apartment. When police found the deceased woman, she had been dead for several days.  Ashworth made no effort to contact police or paramedics. When police first entered Ashworth’s apartment, he told police officers that he had not seen the deceased woman in weeks.
Acting U.S. Attorney Levy and DEA Acting SAC Belleau made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Natick Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leah Foley and Stephen Hassink of the Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated June 25, 2024

Drug Trafficking