Lawrence drug dealer gets 12 years in prison

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judge with gavel, stock photo.

BOSTON, MASS – A Lawrence man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for fentanyl conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms, including an AR-15 rifle.

Ariel Pagan-Romero, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 12 years in prison and five years of supervised release. In October 2020, Pagan-Romero pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl; distribution and possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl; and being a felon in possession of firearms.

Over the course of several months, a federal investigation involving an undercover officer identified Pagan-Romero’s fentanyl distribution operation. During a search of Pagan-Romero’s residence, agents seized pistols, an AR-15 rifle, ammunition, fentanyl and cocaine base.

United States Attorney Andrew Lelling and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; the Massachusetts State Police; and the Andover, North Andover, Billerica, Chelmsford, Lowell and Lawrence Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip C. Cheng of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

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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.