Lawrence Man Arrested for Fentanyl Distribution Involving Multiple Large Pill Press Machines

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BOSTON – A Lawrence man was arrested today on drug distribution charges involving counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl.

Miguel Angel Fajardo, 32, was arrested and charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing fentanyl. Following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell, Fajardo was held in custody pending a detention hearing to be scheduled at a later date.

According to the complaint, during a search of Fajardo’s apartment this morning law enforcement found approximately 100,000 suspected fentanyl pills weighing an estimated seven kilograms, along with an industrial pill press and “M” and “30” pill stamps consistent with markings on pharmaceutical-grade Oxycodone pills. Pill stamps are commonly used to make counterfeit pills appear to be legitimate pharmaceutical-grade pills. Approximately 1.5 kilograms of suspected fentanyl powder and 50 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition concealed in a microwave, two individual finger presses in the living room, four kilograms of cutting agent and two air purifying respirators, which are commonly used when working with fentanyl powder, were also found. It is further alleged that investigators located two one-kilogram pill presses and another large pill press in the landing outside the apartment.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of $10 million. 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.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; and Lawrence Police Chief Roy P. Vasque made the announcement today. The DEA’s Boston Tactical Diversion Squad led the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Estes of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

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