A Lawrence man was indicted Monday for allegedly running a drug trafficking operation responsible for distributing hundreds of grams of fentanyl and heroin on the North Shore, according to a statement from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office.
Santos Figueroa, 35, was charged with one count of trafficking over 100 grams of heroin and one count of trafficking fentanyl.
“He will be arraigned on the charges at a later date in Essex Superior Court,” according to the statement.
Figueroa was first arrested on April 20 after authorities searched his house and discovered more than 120 grams of heroin and more than 180 grams of fentanyl.
The search also revealed “tools and materials used for packing and distributing narcotics.”
The use of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, has been on the rise in Massachusetts, according to the statement. Law enforcement agencies have seen a “significant increase” of the presence of the drug in cases of drug overdoses and deaths.
Fentanyl is estimated to be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the statement. Often times, drug dealers mix fentanyl with heroin without the knowledge of buyers.
Essex County has one of the highest rates of drug overdoses in the state, according to the statement.
Healey’s office has partnered with the Massachusetts State Police to create the Fentanyl Strike Force, which is tasked with targeting and destroying fentanyl trafficking networks across the state.Alyssa Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ameyers_.