November 20, 2015
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: (617) 557-2100
Leader Of North Shore Heroin Trafficking Ring Sentenced To Prison
BOSTON - Jason Melchionda, 35, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor to 108 months in prison and four years of supervised release. In May 2015, Melchionda pleaded guilty to distributing over 1 kilogram of heroin between March 2013 and August 2013.
In 2013, Melchionda was the leader of a criminal conspiracy responsible for distributing heroin in the North Shore. In March 2013, federal agents began investigating members of the criminal conspiracy and intercepted telephone calls to and from several cellphones used by members of the group. Agents determined that Melchionda was the leader, and that the group had at least two sources of supply for heroin. Through intercepted telephone calls and surveillance, agents also determined that Melchionda directed others to distribute heroin on his behalf to at least 30 individuals in the North Shore area. In August 2015, co-defendant Senny Arias, one of Melchionda’s heroin suppliers, was sentenced to 66 months in prison following a one week jury trial.
This case was brought as part of the federal response to the growing opioid abuse epidemic in Massachusetts and other New England states. Heroin is highly addictive, and users can quickly develop a tolerance, prompting them to seek higher potencies and greater quantities of the narcotic. Between 2000 and 2014, opioid overdose deaths have more than tripled with a spike in recent years in Massachusetts. Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz made the announcement. The case was investigated with the assistance of the Revere, Chelsea and Methuen Police Departments.