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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

New Hampshire Man Sentenced for Role in Lawrence-Based Opioid Trafficking Conspiracy

BOSTON – A New Hampshire man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for his role in a widespread heroin and fentanyl trafficking conspiracy operating in Lawrence.

Melvin Weatherspoon, 58, of Rochester, N.H., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to time served and three years of supervised release. In October 2017, Weatherspoon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.

On May 30, 2017, after a year-long investigation aimed at attacking the fentanyl and heroin crisis in Lawrence and surrounding areas, federal, state and local law enforcement officers executed a federal drug sweep to dismantle a Lawrence-based drug trafficking organization allegedly run by Juan Anibal Patrone. Weatherspoon was arrested and charged along with Patrone and dozens of co-conspirators.  

Weatherspoon obtained heroin and fentanyl from Patrone and redistributed it to his own customers in New Hampshire.

Patrone has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division; Peter Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett; Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque made the announcement. The DEA Cross Border Initiative, comprised of the DEA and the Andover, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, and Wilmington Police Departments, conducted the investigation jointly with the Massachusetts State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Winkler of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the cases.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Drug Trafficking
Updated May 23, 2018