Texas Man Sentenced for Role in Drug Conspiracy
Defendant attempted to transport 9 kilos of fentanyl from California to Lawrence
BOSTON – A Texas man involved in a Lawrence-based narcotics trafficking operation was sentenced today in federal court in Boston.
Joel Jahamal Rougeau, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris to 135 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In November 2017, Rougeau pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine. On Aug. 12, 2015, Rougeau and three co-defendants, Jerri Martinez-Tejeda and Yoelly Carmenatty, both of Lawrence, and Lily Solis, of Texas, were indicted.
In March 2014, an investigation into a drug trafficking organization operating in Massachusetts, California and elsewhere led law enforcement to Martinez-Tejeda. In late May or early June 2015, Martinez-Tejeda hired Rougeau to pick up nine kilograms of narcotics in California and transport them to the Northeast. Solis, who was romantically involved with Rougeau, accompanied Rougeau to translate Spanish to English for him.
On June 4, 2015, law enforcement in Oklahoma intercepted Rougeau and Solis transporting the nine kilograms of fentanyl to Martinez-Tejeda and his partner, Carmenatty, in Lawrence for distribution. After the shipment was seized, Martinez-Tejeda and Carmenatty believed that Rougeau and Solis had faked the encounter with law enforcement in order to steal the fentanyl from them. They hired an “enforcer” from Mexico to go to Oklahoma and kidnap and torture Rougeau and Solis. Their plan was thwarted when Rougeau fled and Solis was taken into custody. Approximately 18 months later, Rougeau was captured in Mexico and turned over to U.S. authorities.
In June 2016, Solis was sentenced to 33 months in prison; in October 2016, Martinez-Tejeda was sentenced to 292 months in prison; and in January 2017, Carmenatty was sentenced to six years in prison. One additional defendant, Michael Bate, was charged in a superseding indictment for his role as a money courier for the drug trafficking organization. Bate was sentenced to three years in prison in November 2016.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Kanwit prosecuted the case.