Lawrence Man Sentenced for Distributing Counterfeit Prescription Pills Containing Fentanyl

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BOSTON – A Lawrence man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with distributing counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

Ruben Mejia, 28, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge William G. Young to 45 months in prison and two years of supervised release. On Sept. 9, 2021, Mejia pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of fentanyl and heroin; two counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl and heroin; and one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and heroin.

Mejia distributed fentanyl pressed into pills designed to resemble actual pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone. End users of Mejia’s product could reasonably believe they were ingesting legitimate oxycodone pills, unaware that they were in fact consuming street fentanyl of uncertain dosage.

Mejia personally delivered or attempted to deliver approximately 6,000 pills, in total containing over 980 grams of fentanyl, to an undercover agent. On Aug. 13, 2020, Mejia sold an estimated 500 fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone pills for $4,000 ($8 per pill). Mejia sold the pills, which he stored in a baby diaper, in five bags containing approximately 100 pills each. On Aug. 26, 2020, Mejia sold another estimated 500 fentanyl pills for $4,000. Mejia was arrested on Sept. 11, 2020, after he was found in possession of an estimated 5,000 fentanyl pills, which he planned to sell for $40,000.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; and Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Estes of Rollins’ Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.

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