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Press Release

New York Woman Arrested for Trafficking Methamphetamine, Heroin, and "Tranq"

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Hampshire

CONCORD – A Bronx, New York, woman has been charged in connection with trafficking methamphetamine and fentanyl combined with xylazine from New York to New Hampshire, U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young announces.  

Katherine Sanchez Lugo, 33, was arrested today in Nashua on a criminal complaint of possessing with intent to distribute and distributing controlled substances.  Sanchez Lugo will make an initial appearance in federal court in Concord on September 7, 2023.   

According to the charging documents, Sanchez Lugo trafficked controlled substances on three occasions from New York to New Hampshire. Sanchez Lugo distributed a 200-gram mixture of fentanyl, heroin and xylazine, and 55-grams of methamphetamine on June 14, 2023. The defendant also trafficked more than half of a kilogram of substances allegedly containing fentanyl on July 12th, 2023 and August 10th, 2023.   

Xylazine, also known as “Tranq,” is a powerful non-opiate sedative that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for veterinary use only.  Because xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone (Narcan) does not reverse its effects.  Xylazine and fentanyl drug mixtures place users at a higher risk of suffering a fatal drug poisoning.  People who inject drug mixtures containing xylazine also can develop severe wounds, including necrosis—the rotting of human tissue—that may lead to amputation. The combination is referred to on the street as the “zombie drug.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently issued a public safety alert warning the American public of a sharp increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine and the drug’s deadly effects.  The FDA also published an alert to health care providers about the risks to patients exposed to xylazine in illicit drugs. 

The charge of possessing with intent to distribute and distributing controlled substances provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1,000,000. 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. 

DEA led the investigation.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Nashua Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Cesar A. Vega is prosecuting the case. 

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



Updated September 7, 2023