CONCORD – Eddil Ortez, 26, of Manchester, pleaded guilty in federal court to attempted possession of fentanyl and cocaine with intent to distribute, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, beginning around December of 2017, a drug organization in Lawrence, Massachusetts maintained a series of telephone numbers to receive orders and distribute controlled substances, primarily fentanyl and crack cocaine. In early 2019, law enforcement officers began conducting judicially-authorized interception of communications occurring over a phone number used by the organization.
On June 19, 2019, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at locations known to be used by the organization, arrested the person believed to have been operating the phone, and seized the phone. To further identify and arrest those who were distributing drugs, the officers, pretending to be members of the drug organization, used the seized phone to communicate with individuals who were obtaining drugs from the organization.
During the evening of June 20, 2019, messages were exchanged between the seized phone and a phone belonging to Ortez. Ortez attempted to order quantities of crack cocaine and fentanyl from the organization. Ortez was directed to a parking lot in Nashua. After he provided the description of his car and his clothing, he was told to leave the drug money in the center console of the car. Investigating officers observed the car identified by Ortez arrive at the agreed-upon time for the deal. Ortez then left the car and walked toward a retail store. The officers sent a message to Ortez saying “you are all set.” Ortez returned to the car and was arrested. Ortez was in possession of the telephone that was used to arrange the drug deal.
Ortez will be sentenced on October 1, 2020.
“Interstate trafficking organizations make fentanyl, cocaine, and other dangerous drugs available for purchase in New Hampshire,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “The results have been disastrous. Federal law enforcement agencies are working closely with all of our state and local partners to stop this deadly trade. Traffickers should be aware that they will be caught and prosecuted.”
This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police, Methuen Police Department, Andover, Massachusetts Police Department, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, New Hampshire State Police, Manchester Police Department, Nashua Police Department, Salem Police Department, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson Police Department, and the Goffstown Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Aframe.
This case was supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.