Gangster Disciple Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Fentanyl Trafficking

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

BOSTON – A member of the Gangster Disciple street gang was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston on drug distribution charges involving fentanyl.

Manuel Roderick, 44, of Auburn, Maine, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to five years in prison and four years of supervised release. Earlier in the hearing, Roderick pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl.

“In communities across our Commonwealth and the country, drug traffickers use local dealers to peddle their poison on the vulnerable,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Addressing and ending the opioid crisis is a huge priority of my administration.  And we are targeting fentanyl dealers. That particular opioid is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Today’s sentence should make clear that we will seek significant sentences and subsequent oversight for these types of crimes.”

“Manuel Roderick will now spend the next five years behind bars after we caught him red-handed trafficking fentanyl, having traveled down from Maine to buy it at a reduced price.  He and his fellow gang members have flooded our neighborhoods with deadly drugs, furthering the scourge of opioids in our communities,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “Our North Shore Gang Task Force will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to get drug dealers like him, and the gangs they belong to, off our streets for good.”

This case stemmed from a larger investigation into members and drug suppliers of the Gangster Disciples street gang operating in the greater Lawrence area, allegedly led by Justin Suriel. In March 2021, Roderick was observed visiting Suriel’s residence for what appeared to be a drug transaction. During a subsequent traffic stop, law enforcement seized 107 grams of powdered fentanyl in a large plastic bag from Roderick’s vehicle. According to court documents, during the traffic stop, Roderick admitted to law enforcement that he bought narcotics from Suriel and was a Gangster Disciple gang member.

Suriel was arrested in November 2021. He has pleaded not guilty and is pending trial.

U.S. Attorney Rollins, FBI SAC Bonavolonta and Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip C. Cheng of Rollins’ Organized Crime & Gang Unit prosecuted the case.

This case 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 defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.