Two men arrested and charged with trafficking heroin Wednesday night, as first reported by WHAV, were allegedly responsible for bringing at least 250 grams of the deadly drug onto the streets of the Merrimack Valley, Attorney General Maura Healey said Friday afternoon.
Francis Fernandez, 33, 14 Pentucket St., and Hector Ocasio, 27, of Lawrence, were arrested between 6:15 and 6:30, Wednesday, on Pentucket Street. They were each charged with trafficking drugs and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Fernandez was also charged with possession of drugs with the intent to distribute and possession of a stun gun. They were arrested as part of a joint operation involving Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Transportation Drug Unit, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Haverhill Police.
“The opioid epidemic caused 2,000 deaths in Massachusetts last year – the highest number ever recorded in our state,” said Healey. “We allege these defendants were bringing this deadly drug onto the streets of Haverhill. We continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to combat the trafficking of this lethal drug and keep it out of the hands of those already battling addiction.”
Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday and were held on $100,000 cash bail. Fernandez and Ocasio have a probable cause hearing scheduled for March 20 in Haverhill
“The Haverhill Police Department is extremely pleased and proud of the hard-working men and women who contributed to this successful investigation, and we will continue to join efforts with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and our other law enforcement partners in reducing the availability of this deadly drug in our community,” said Haverhill Detective Lt. Robert Pistone.
In January, authorities began an investigation into an alleged drug trafficking operation they believed was responsible for distributing drugs in Haverhill. They allege Ocasio was supplying Fernandez with heroin and Fernandez in turn was selling the drug on the streets of Haverhill.
This investigation is ongoing.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lynn Brennan with assistance from Assistant Attorney General Cesar Vega, both of Healey’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crimes Division.