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Press Release

Salem Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Distribute Over Four Kilograms of Fentanyl Pills

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

BOSTON – A Salem man has been sentenced in federal court in Boston for conspiring to distribute large amounts of fentanyl.

Jose Esmerlin Diaz, 38, of Salem, was sentenced on May 23, 2023 by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to 52 months in prison and two years of supervised release. In April 2021, Diaz pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. In January 2020, Diaz was arrested and charged with co-defendant Manuel E. Tejeda.

On Jan. 17, 2020, Diaz delivered an estimated 13,770 fentanyl pills (weighing approximately 1.6 kilograms) disguised as 30mg Percocet pills to a cooperating source at a price of $6 per pill. Is it alleged that shortly thereafter, Tejeda and another man arrived in the vicinity of the drug transaction to deliver additional pills, and were found in possession of an estimated 29,742 fentanyl pills (weighing approximately three kilograms). Those additional pills were consistent in appearance with the pills delivered by Diaz and packaged in a similar manner. 

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; John E. Mawn, Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police; Peabody Police Chief Thomas M. Griffin; and Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Dell’Anno, Craig Estes and Kunal Pasricha of Levy’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

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

Updated June 2, 2023

Drug Trafficking