For Immediate Release - June 29, 2015

Lawrence Man Arrested, Arraigned for Major Drug Trafficking Operations

Authorities Seized Approximately 30 Pounds of Suspected Heroin, Fentanyl; Estimated Street Value of Several Million Dollars

LAWRENCE – A Lawrence man has been arrested and arraigned in connection with a major drug trafficking operation in which authorities seized approximately 30 pounds of suspected heroin and fentanyl with an estimated street value of several million dollars, Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy P. Alben and Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Jose C. Casellas, age 37, of Lawrence, was arrested on Thursday in joint operation involving Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Transportation Drug Unit (TDU) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Lawrence, Andover, and Methuen Police Departments.

“This was a noteworthy operation that prevented millions of dollars worth of heroin and fentanyl from being distributed on Massachusetts streets,” Colonel Alben stated. “This operation without a doubt saved the life of someone who would have overdosed on this poison. Of course we know that users will continue to seek other sources of drugs. We continue to work with social service agencies that provide help to reduce demand, while we continue to hammer the supply.”

“We allege that this defendant led a major heroin and fentanyl distribution operation, putting these lethal drugs onto our streets and into the hands of those struggling with addiction,” said AG Healey. “This arrest is the result of outstanding cooperation between state, local, and federal law enforcement and is part of our efforts to tackle this devastating public health crisis from all angles.”

Casellas was arraigned in Lawrence District Court on Friday for Trafficking in Heroin over 200 Grams (2 counts), Possession of a Firearm without a License (3 counts), and Giving a False Name at Booking. He was held on $2 million cash bail. He is due back in Lawrence District Court on July 22 for a probable cause hearing.

This month, authorities from the State Police TDU began an investigation into an alleged drug trafficking operation in the Lawrence area that they believed was responsible for distributing heroin to Massachusetts and New Hampshire. 

Authorities arrested Casellas on Thursday in Andover and seized approximately three kilograms of suspected heroin and fentanyl on his person. A search warrant was executed on Friday at a Lawrence residence where authorities allege Casellas ran his operation out of. Authorities seized approximately 15 kilograms of suspected heroin and fentanyl, three guns, kilo presses, digital scales, and other packaging and distribution materials at the residence.

This investigation remains ongoing.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Megan Williams of AG Healey’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, with assistance from State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Transportation Drug Unit (TDU), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Lawrence, Andover and Methuen Police Departments and the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab.