Lawrence Man Receives Jail Time for Heroin Trafficking

Maura Healey

Attorney General Maura Healey.

A Lawrence man was sentenced to 10 to 12 years in state prison after pleading guilty to charges in connection with heroin and fentanyl trafficking in the area. The case involved a joint investigation with police from Andover and Methuen as well as other state and federal agencies.

Jose C. Casellas, alias Rafael Nicolas Lopez-Carrasco, 41, of Lawrence, pleaded guilty Friday in Essex Superior Court to charges of trafficking heroin between 100 and 200 grams, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, unlawful possession of a firearm (three counts), and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, according to Attorney General Maura Healey. Casellas was arrested in June, 2015, in a joint operation involving Massachusetts State Police assigned to the attorney general’s office, Massachusetts State Police Transportation Drug Unit (TDU), U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Lawrence, Andover and Methuen Police Departments. He was indicted last September in Essex Superior Court. He was sentenced by Judge John Lu after the guilty plea was entered.

“The sharp increase of fentanyl is causing deaths in our communities more quickly than we have ever seen,” Healey said. “Alarmingly, recent numbers show that more than half of the confirmed opioid-related deaths last year with a toxicology screen involved this deadly drug. We thank our partners in law enforcement for their work on this case and will continue to work with them to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who are distributing fentanyl and heroin on our streets.”