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Press Release

Two Men Arrested for Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
During arrest, one of the defendants allegedly attempted to swallow suspected fentanyl, initiating a hazmat response in a public area

BOSTON – A Dominican national and Lawrence man were arrested yesterday and charged in federal court in Boston with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl.

Aneudy Rios, 40, of Lawrence, and Luis Arias, 50, a Dominican national residing in Lawrence, were charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl.

Over the course of several months, agents investigated Rios and Arias’ alleged fentanyl distribution operation, which culminated on April 11, 2019, when investigators arrested them in Lawrence. During Rios’ arrest, he attempted to swallow a large bag of suspected fentanyl. The bag, however, ripped and the suspected fentanyl covered Rios and the area around him. Investigators swiftly requested an ambulance for Rios and he was provided naloxone, commonly known as Narcan. Rios was transported to an area hospital and a hazmat response cleared the scene of the potentially deadly substance.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl carries a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a fine of $1 million. Arias will be subject to deportation upon completion of any sentence imposed. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Office, made the announcement. During the course of this investigation, valuable assistance was provided by Homeland Security Investigations in Boston and the Lawrence, North Andover, Methuen, Billerica, Andover, Lowell, and Groton Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip C. Cheng of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

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

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.


Updated April 12, 2019

Drug Trafficking