Two Massachusetts Men Sentenced For Fentanyl Distribution Conspiracy
CONCORD, N.H. – Israel Garcia, 56, of Lawrence, Massachusetts and Maximo Brito-Tejeda, 36, a citizen of the Dominican Republic most recently residing in Lawrence, Massachusetts, were sentenced in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire after pleading guilty to five counts of distribution of fentanyl and one count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, announced United States Attorney Emily Gray Rice. United States District Judge Paul J. Barbadoro sentenced Garcia to 78 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release of four years and Brito-Tejeda to 88 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release of four years.
According to court documents, during a law enforcement investigation, officers received information from a cooperating source indicating that Garcia and an individual later identified as Brito-Tejeda were actively involved in the distribution of drugs in and around the Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire areas. As part of the investigation, law enforcement officers used the cooperating individual and an undercover officer to make controlled purchases of fentanyl from Garcia and Brito-Tejeda on five occasions in August and September, 2015. On each occasion, Garcia and Brito-Tejeda met the cooperating individual and/or the undercover officer and sold them approximately ten grams of fentanyl.
On September 25, 2015, officers approached Garcia and Brito-Tejeda in an attempt to arrest them. Garcia fled but was apprehended within seconds and Brito-Tejeda locked himself in his car, emptied bags containing fentanyl onto the floor mat, and poured his drink over the drugs. He also attempted to swallow plastic bags containing additional quantities of fentanyl. That same day, the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant at the residence occupied by Brito-Tejeda where Garcia and Brito-Tejeda stored and packaged drugs. A scale, packaging materials, and an additional quantity of fentanyl were recovered at this residence.
“Prosecuting those individuals who illegally introduce narcotic drugs into our communities is a priority of my office,” stated United States Attorney Emily Gray Rice. “Fentanyl, in particular, is an incredibly dangerous substance responsible for many overdose deaths in New Hampshire. We will continue to work tirelessly to prosecute those who seek to profit from the sale of this dangerous drug.”
“Opiate abuse is at epidemic levels in New Hampshire and throughout New England,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson. “Fentanyl is causing overdose deaths across the Granite State, and DEA is committed to aggressively pursue trafficking organizations or individuals who are coming from out of state to distribute fentanyl to areas of New Hampshire in order to profit and destroy people’s lives, and wreak havoc in our communities. This investigation demonstrates the strength and continued commitment of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners."
According to statistics maintained by the State of New Hampshire, over half of the drug overdose deaths in New Hampshire in 2015 were related to fentanyl. Because a single gram of heroin or fentanyl can be used to create multiple individual dosage units that can be sold “on the street,” the quantity of fentanyl involved in this case could have generated many individual doses of fentanyl, each of which had the potential to cause a fatal overdose.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth Aframe and Georgiana L. Konesky.