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Lawrence Heroin Ring Charged

JUL 14 (BOSTON) – Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz announced that ten individuals in three states were charged in federal court yesterday with conspiracy to distribute heroin, in connection with a Lawrence-based heroin operation. The ten were charged in two related criminal complaints.

In the late night hours on Sunday, July 12, 2015, Juan Gonzalez-Arias, 31, Jerri Martinez-Tejeda, 31, Yoelly Carmenatty, 27, Michael Bate, 33, and Gilberto Alicea, 32, were arrested for conspiracy to distribute heroin.  Another charged defendant, Lily Y. Solis, 28, is in custody in Oklahoma.  One defendant, Alejandro Mendez, 31, is in state custody in Massachusetts.  Three other defendants, Joel Jahamal Rougeau, 41, Saul Torres, and Hillsaydee Guzman, 31, remain fugitives.

These charges came after a lengthy investigation that culminated in the execution of two search warrants, one for the residence of Gonzalez-Arias, and another for the residence of Martinez-Tejeda and his wife, Carmenatty, in the late evening and early morning hours of July 12-13.

In the Martinez-Tejeda/Carmenatty residence, agents found over $500,000 in cash that was in the process of being counted and packaged.  Federal agents also recovered two handguns, various items for the processing and packaging of narcotics, and approximately one kilogram of what is believed to be “cut,” a substance used to dilute the purity of heroin prior to sale.  Additionally, agents recovered ledgers appearing to be part of the drug trafficking operation. 

In the Gonzalez-Arias residence, agents recovered a firearm, 1.5 kilograms of suspected heroin and an additional $30,088 in cash.

The maximum sentence under the statute is life in prison, followed by supervised release for up to life, a $10,000,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment.  Depending on the total amount of drugs recovered and whether a defendant is held responsible for all or a portion of those drugs, the applicable statute also provides a ten year mandatory minimum period of incarceration as well as a mandatory five year period of supervised release.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

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


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