oncord – United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced that Sergio Martinez, 30, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for leading a continuing criminal enterprise and participating in a money laundering conspiracy based upon his role in operating a Lawrence-based fentanyl trafficking organization. Additionally, Martinez was ordered to forfeit $2,000,000 in cash, as well as three houses in Lawrence.
Martinez pleaded guilty on the sixth day of a jury trial. During the trial, which began on October 1, 2019, the government presented evidence that Martinez operated a fentanyl trafficking operation that employed numerous individuals to sell fentanyl to customers from various New England states, including New Hampshire. Testimony at trial showed that customers knew the Martinez organization by the name “Brian” and that most of the organization’s customers came from New Hampshire. Distributors knew to identify customers on the streets of Lawrence by their New Hampshire license plates.
Testimony at trial showed that the organization served three distinct sets of customers. The first group of customers, who ordered the smallest amounts of drugs, was served by various telephones (“small phones”) that were located in a specific residence and answered by dispatchers. This residence was referred to as “the base” and dispatchers staffed “the base” from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily. Dispatchers took orders and directed customers to meet various distributors throughout the Merrimack Valley area, mostly in Lawrence or Haverhill, Massachusetts, but sometimes in Salem, New Hampshire. These phones usually received hundreds of calls daily from customers placing fentanyl orders. Street-level distributors were provided with 200-gram bags of fentanyl, which they sold for $30 per gram, generating $6,000 per bag of fentanyl sold. Distributors testified at trial that they sometimes had lines of 10 to 15 customers, most with New Hampshire license plates, waiting for them on the street.