Taunton Man Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Trafficking Charges
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
BOSTON – A Taunton man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston for his involvement in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that distributed fentanyl throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Michael Pacheco, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for Nov. 1, 2023. Pacheco was indicted along with nine other co-defendants in August 2022.
In March 2021, law enforcement began investigating a DTO allegedly led by Estarlin Ortiz-Alcantara operating in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Intercepted communications on numerous cellphones allegedly identified members of the DTO who regularly distributed multiple kilograms of fentanyl from a base of operations at a stash house in Fall River.
The investigation identified Pacheco as a regular DTO customer who re-distributed fentanyl to his own customer base in Southeastern Massachusetts. Intercepted communications showed Pacheco ordering fentanyl from the DTO and was soon after observed meeting with the DTO’s couriers. A search of Pacheco’s residence in July 2022 resulted in the seizure of approximately 41 grams of fentanyl.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. 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 a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. 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.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira; and Fairhaven Police Chief Michael J. Myers made the announcement today. Special assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police; Homeland Security Investigations; Bristol County Sherriff’s Office; and Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Scituate, Yarmouth, Providence (R.I.) and West Warwick (R.I.) Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Mulcahy of the Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
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.
Updated August 9, 2023