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Press Release  Three Lawrence Men Arrested, Arraigned in Connection With Major Drug Trafficking Operation

Law Enforcement Seized a Total of 4.5 Kilograms of Heroin/Fentanyl and Two Illegal Firearms
For immediate release:
3/05/2021
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for Three Lawrence Men Arrested, Arraigned in Connection With Major Drug Trafficking Operation

Chloe Gotsis

LAWRENCEThree Lawrence men have been arrested and arraigned in connection with a major joint state and federal drug trafficking investigation in which law enforcement seized approximately 4.5 kilograms of fentanyl/heroin and two illegal firearms, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Francis Arias Soto, 38, Pedro Pagan, 31, and Jose Gonzalez, 42, were arrested Tuesday in Lawrence and arraigned Wednesday in Lawrence District Court on multiple counts of drug and firearm related charges.

The charges are the result of a major investigation by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, the Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team (CINRET) North, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Manchester, N.H. District Office, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Drug Task Force, and the New Hampshire State Police Narcotics Investigations Unit, with assistance from the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, the Lynn Police Department and the Methuen Police Department.

Francis Arias Soto

Soto was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the following charges:

  • Trafficking 36-100 Grams of Heroin/Fentanyl (13 counts)
  • Trafficking 200 or More Grams of Heroin/Fentanyl (Two counts)

Cash bail was set at $750,000 with the conditions that he surrender his passport and is not released without a GPS monitor.

Pedro Pagan

Pagan is facing the following charges:

  • Trafficking 36-100 grams of Heroin/Fentanyl (11 counts)
  • Trafficking 200 or More Grams of Heroin/Fentanyl (Two counts)
  • Possession of a Firearm without a Firearm Identification Card (FID) (Two counts)
  • Possession of Ammunition without an FID Card (One count)
  • Possession of a Firearm in a Felony (One count)

He was arraigned on and pleaded not guilty to most of the counts and will be arraigned on the remaining charges on April 2. Cash bail was set at $500,000 with the condition that Pagan surrender his passport.

Jose Gonzalez

 Gonzalez was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the following charges:

  • Trafficking 36-100 Grams of Heroin/Fentanyl (Two counts)
  • Trafficking 200 or More Grams of Heroin/Fentanyl (One count)
  • Conspiracy (One count)

 

Cash bail was set at $75,000 with the condition that Gonzalez surrender his passport.

During the execution of a search warrant at a Lawrence apartment on Tuesday, law enforcement seized 4.5 kilograms of heroin/fentanyl and two firearms. The seizures followed a series of more than 20 controlled undercover drug buys in Massachusetts and New Hampshire during an investigation that spanned 13 months.

The defendants are due back in Lawrence District Court on April 2 for a probable cause hearing.

All of these charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

AG Healey’s Office has prioritized combatting the opioid crisis and has been working closely with federal, state and local partners to fight illegal drug trafficking throughout New England. The AG’s Fentanyl Strike Force was created in 2016 using a $1 million grant from the US Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services Anti-Heroin Task Force and has since been strengthened with a nearly $3 million grant in 2018 and a $2.6 million grant in 2019, which have expanded ongoing multistate and cross-jurisdictional investigations.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Caitlin McDermott.

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Media Contact for Three Lawrence Men Arrested, Arraigned in Connection With Major Drug Trafficking Operation

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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