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Press Release

Two Men Charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Over Four Kilograms of Fentanyl Pills

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Thousands of pills, $150,000 in cash and pill press found in storage unit

BOSTON – Two men were charged today in federal court in Boston in connection with selling approximately 40,000 fentanyl pills.

Jose Esmerlin Diaz, 36, of Salem, and Manuel E. Tejeda, 39, of Peabody, were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl.  Both are scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

According to charging documents, Diaz delivered an estimated 13,800 fentanyl pills (weighing approximately 1.6 kilograms) disguised as Percocet 30s to a cooperating source on Jan. 17, 2020, at a price of $6 per pill. 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 27,000 fentanyl pills (weighing approximately 3.1 kilograms). A subsequent search of a storage unit used by Tejeda in Salem resulted in the discovery of approximately two kilograms of suspected fentanyl and/or heroin, $150,000 in cash and an industrial/commercial grade pill press that could be used to press powder-form opiates into pills. Keys located on Tejeda at the time of his arrest opened locks to the storage unit.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Peabody Police Chief Thomas M. Griffin; and Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Estes 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.

Updated January 29, 2020