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Press Release

Peabody Man Sentenced for Distributing Drugs Laced with Fentanyl

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

BOSTON – A Peabody man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for participating in a conspiracy that distributed fentanyl and drugs laced with fentanyl.

Francisco Tavarez, a/k/a “Jose,” 25, was sentenced by U.S District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to 21 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Tavarez previously pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of fentanyl and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and 40 grams or more of fentanyl on March 29, 2022.

“This case is an unfortunate illustration of the deadly effects of opioids and the destruction they cause to people, families, and communities,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Mr. Tavarez was involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy that exploited pain and suffering for profit. The opioid crisis - which flourishes due to actions by individuals like Mr. Tavarez - has taken far too many lives in our Commonwealth. With today’s sentencing, we honor the memory of the young woman whose overdose death in January 2017 sparked the instant investigation.”

“Fentanyl is causing tremendous damage to our community,” said Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division. “Those who distribute this poison are endangering the safety of the citizens of the Massachusetts.  The DEA will continue to work each day alongside our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who are responsible for distributing fentanyl and other deadly drugs. DEA’s top priority is combatting the opioid epidemic.”

In January 2017, a fatal opioid overdose in Melrose prompted an investigation into drug activity on the North Shore of Boston. Tavarez’s co-defendant Yeffry Reynoso was identified as a heroin and fentanyl supplier who ran an active drug business and employed various individuals as runners who delivered the drugs on his behalf. The investigation determined that Reynoso supplied the opioids that led to the fatal overdose in January and that he had previously supplied the victim with heroin and a heroin/fentanyl mixture on a regular basis in 2016. 

 During the subsequent investigation into Reynoso’s drug trafficking activities in the Spring of 2017, a cooperating witness made a controlled purchase of heroin and a heroin/fentanyl mixture from Reynoso. The cooperating witness then introduced Reynoso to an undercover investigator who was posing as a new customer. In March 2017, Tavarez was identified as a runner for Reynoso when he delivered fentanyl to the undercover investigator on Reynoso’s behalf. Tavarez was later observed engaging in multiple suspected drug transactions with individuals believed to be Reynoso’s drug customers. Following a suspected hand-to-hand drug deal in Salem, local law enforcement stopped Tavarez and seized a small quantity of fentanyl, a small quantity of a cocaine/fentanyl mixture, and $2,340 from his car.

In January 2019, Reynoso pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June 2019 to 150 months in prison and four years of supervised release. Reynoso was also ordered to pay restitution of $4,765.

U.S. Attorney Rollins, DEA SAC Boyle, Melrose Police Chief Michael Lyle and Salem Police Chief Lucas J. Miller made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Arnold of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated August 10, 2022

Drug Trafficking