Lawrence Man Pleads Guilty in Fentanyl Trafficking Conspiracy

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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 pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to his role in a Lawrence-based fentanyl trafficking conspiracy.

Elvin Mendoza, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for Oct. 12, 2022.

In June 2021, Mendoza was indicted along with 13 others following an over two-year investigation into a drug trafficking organization (DTO) operating out of the Lawrence area. As a result of the investigation, Mendoza was identified as a drug trafficker who distributed fentanyl throughout Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. In December 2020, approximately $74,000 cash and approximately four kilograms of fentanyl, among other evidence, were seized from members of the DTO in various locations in Billerica, Methuen, Lawrence and Ayden, N.C.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to life in prison, at least four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $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 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 and the Andover, Billerica, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, North Andover, Tewksbury, Wilmington and Salem (N.H.) Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip C. Cheng of Rollins’ Criminal Division is prosecuting the case. 

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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