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BOSTON – A Dominican national pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to heroin and fentanyl possession and distribution charges.

Juan Santos Roque, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, one kilogram or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of fentanyl.  U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Feb. 17, 2021.  Santos Roque has been in federal custody since his arrest on Oct. 21, 2019.

According to court documents, Santos Roque’s co-defendant, James De La Cruz, arranged for the sale of 10 kilograms of fentanyl and six kilograms of heroin to a confidential informant for the government at a hotel in Peabody.  De La Cruz and Santos Roque drove from New York and arrived separately at the meeting location.  Santos Roque had stored 16 kilograms of heroin and fentanyl in a hidden compartment in his vehicle.  When Santos Roque arrived at the hotel parking lot, he met with the confidential informant and handed over the 16 separate drug packages.  Agents then took both men into custody.

The charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of fentanyl carry a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison, a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a maximum fine of $10 million, and a term of supervised release of at least five years to follow the prison sentence.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston, made the announcement today.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police and the Peabody Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Hassink of Lelling’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case. 

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