Farmington Man Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Trafficking and Firearm Charges
CONCORD - Thomas Blanchette, 45, of Farmington, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and unlawful possession of a firearm, Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Blanchette conspired with others between approximately 2016 and December 20, 2018 to distribute fentanyl. As part of the conspiracy, on November 17, 2017, a New Hampshire State Police (“NHSP”) trooper made a motor vehicle stop of co-conspirator Christopher Stearns’ vehicle after observing several motor vehicle violations. Blanchette and his wife, co-conspirator Amy Blanchette, were passengers in the vehicle, along with another individual. The trooper subsequently seized the vehicle and executed a search warrant and seized 176 grams of fentanyl from a box near the rear passenger seat where Amy Blanchette had been seated. Arrest warrants were obtained for Blanchette, Stearns and Amy Blanchette.
On January 2, 2018, DEA agents observed Stearns and Thomas Blanchette in Stearns’ vehicle travel to the area of Lawrence, Massachusetts and return to New Hampshire a short time later. A NHSP trooper stopped the vehicle and arrested Stearns and Thomas Blanchette on the outstanding arrest warrants. The NHSP subsequently executed a search warrant on Stearns’ vehicle and seized over 28 grams of fentanyl.
On December 20, 2018, DEA agents executed federal arrest warrants for Thomas and Amy Blanchette at their residence. A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, and several firearms. Thomas Blanchette was prohibited from owning firearms due to a felony conviction in 2010.
Blanchette is scheduled to be sentenced on September 15, 2021. Amy Blanchette pleaded guilty on October 19, 2020 and is awaiting sentencing. Christopher Stearns also pleaded guilty and has been sentenced.
“Fentanyl traffickers continue to cause significant damage to communities throughout New Hampshire,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Farley. “When drug dealers are armed, they pose an enhanced risk to public safety. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute the drug traffickers who are threatening the quality of life in the Granite State.”
This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New Hampshire State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the New Hampshire State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Cole Davis.
This investigation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.