News Release
For Immediate Release
September 30, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Former UMass Lowell Graduate Student Arrested and Charged with Manufacturing Fentanyl

SEP 30 -- BOSTON, Mass. - Steven Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz, and Chief Randy Brashears of the UMass Lowell Police Department made the announced today that a former UMass Lowell graduate student was arrested today and charged with manufacturing, distribution and possession with intent to manufacture and distribute the drug fentanyl.

According to the affidavit filed in Court, ROGER O’CONNOR, 37, of Merrimack NH, was arrested and later charged in U.S. District Court today on charges that he manufactured, distributed and possessed with intent to manufacture and distribute fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance. O’Connor was a graduate student and teaching assistant at UMass Lowell at the time.

On September 17, 2010, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (UMass Lowell) Police Department arrested O’Connor after responding to complaints that O’Connor was running up and down the hallway yelling and screaming. According to the affidavit, at the time of his arrest, UMass Police seized a clear bottle with a white powder substance, several containers with a brown powder substances, a vial with liquid, plastic bags with a green leafy substance, a zippered pouch with broken glass and a powder substance and several syringes from him.

According to the Affidavit, UMass Police later interviewed O’Connor, and after waiving his Miranda rights, he explained that the tan powder substance he had on his possession was Fentanyl, which he makes for his own personal use. O’Connor also stated that he studied chemistry at UMass Lowell and is able to make his own Fentanyl cheaply. O’Connor was charged with possession of fentanyl and banned from the UMass campus. O’Connor was later released on bail for the state charges.

According to the Affidavit, after being escorted by Umass Police to collect his personal items on September 20, 2010, O’Connor explained that he had been previously fired from Dartmouth College for making “Crystal Meth and fentanyl.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration was notified by Umass Police of the incident, at which time an evaluation and full search of the area was conducted. As alleged in the Affidavit, agents and chemists searched O’Connor’s lab table and found a box filled with precursor chemicals for the manufacturing of fentanyl, including aniline, propionicanhydride and phenethylamine. According to the Affidavit, a box containing a letter from an individual believed to be a Fentanyl customer of O’Connor complaining about the effects of fentanyl that

O’Connor supplied was also found, explaining health problems resulting from the drugs. Additionally, the Affidavit alleges that testing of the suspected drug evidence seized by UMass Police concluded that a vial with brown powder substance tested positive for Phencyclidine Hydrochloride (PCP), a glass jar with powder tested positive for Fentanyl, and small plastic bags with white powder substance tested positive for Methamphetamine. The other substances could not be identified on scene.

If convicted, O’Connor faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine. Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Dein ordered O’Connor held until a detention and probable cause hearing on Wednesday, October 6th at 11:30 am.