WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan has announced that Manuel Perez, 42, of Lynn, and Juan Santana-Almanzar, 52, of Worcester, were arraigned today in Woburn District Court in connection with allegedly selling 800 grams of suspected fentanyl to an undercover Massachusetts State Trooper at a Woburn area hotel yesterday.
Manuel Perez was charged with two counts of trafficking over 10 grams of fentanyl and conspiracy to violate the Massachusetts controlled substance act. First Justice Marianne Hinkle of the Woburn District Court set bail at $250,000 cash and ordered the defendant, should he make bail, to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet. Judge Hinkle then revoked the defendant’s bail on a pending case out of Somerville District Court
Juan Santana-Almanzar was charged with conspiracy to violate the Massachusetts controlled substance act. Judge Hinkle set bail at $7,500 cash and ordered the defendant, should he make bail, to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet.
“Part of my office’s multipronged approach to combating the opioid epidemic is enforcement, specifically targeting well-organized and large-scale drug enterprises,” said District Attorney Ryan. “The opioid epidemic, and its far-reaching effects are felt throughout every city and town in the Commonwealth. Cognizant of the inherent dangers of fentanyl, the collaborative investigation undertaken by state and local law enforcement officials that resulted in today’s arraignment, and 800 grams of suspected fentanyl being taken off of the streets and out of our communities, is an important part of that effort.”
In December, Massachusetts State Police Troopers assigned to the Special Investigations Unit of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office began investigating the defendant, Perez, for the suspected distribution of fentanyl.
Yesterday at approximately 4:00 p.m. an undercover officer allegedly arranged to purchase suspected fentanyl from Perez in exchange for $56,000 in cash. The Trooper allegedly escorted Perez to a hotel room where the money was inspected and the drugs were exchanged. Perez was taken into custody by the Massachusetts State Police without incident.
While Perez was meeting with the officer in the hotel room, police observed another male, later identified as Santana-Almanzar, circling the parking lots in the vicinity of the hotel. Investigators subsequently stopped that vehicle and learned Santana-Almanzar was allegedly serving as a lookout.
The preliminary field test of the seized drugs was positive for fentanyl. The drugs will now be sent to the Massachusetts State Police Drug Lab for further testing. The amount of seized fentanyl is conservatively estimated to have a street value worth in excess of $100,000.
This is an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police assigned the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit, Massachusetts State Police Tactical Operations and the Southern Middlesex Regional Drug Task Force.
The next court date in these cases is February 16.
These charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor assigned to today’s arraignment was Assistant District Attorney Whitney Williams.