FALL RIVER — A 29-year-old Fall River man arrested twice within a seven-month stretch for trafficking fentanyl will spend the next eight to 10-and-a-half years in state prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Stephen Arpa pleaded guilty last week in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with trafficking in excess of 100 grams of fentanyl, trafficking in excess of 18 grams of fentanyl and trafficking in excess of 18 grams of heroin.

On April 30, 2018, detectives from the Fall River Police Department’s Vice Unit were conducting surveillance on the South Coast Marketplace on William S. Canning Boulevard in Fall River because of known drug activity occurring in the area. The detectives observed the defendant, who they knew to be a drug-involved person, exit Market Basket with a male and a female. The trio approached two vehicles, a red Chevy pick-up truck and a white Ford Taurus. Arpa entered the Taurus, while the other two entered the truck. The vehicles were parked so that they were facing opposite directions but next to each other, thereby lining up the driver’s side doors. The detectives observed Arpa engage in a hand-to-hand transaction between the vehicles. 

When detectives approached Arpa, he initially ran on foot before being stopped by another detective. A small bag of narcotics was found in his coat pocket. However, about 270 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl were located in the defendant’s vehicle, along with a scale and more than $3,000 in cash.

After being released on bail, Apra was again arrested on January 11, 2019, in Fall River. On that date, Fall River Police detectives obtained a search warrant for the Arpa’s residence at 135 Haffords Street. While surveilling the residence, detectives witnessed the defendant leave his apartment. When detectives stopped him, they found him in possession of several bags of fentanyl and heroin, weighing around 100 grams, and more than $2,000 in cash. Inside his apartment, detectives seized cutting agents, digital scales, empty glassine baggies, and elastics. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Daniel Walsh and the state prison sentence was imposed by Judge Debra Squires-Lee.

“The defendant was caught with a very large amount of fentanyl, which is the root cause of the increase in fatal overdoses during the last five years. Unfortunately, the defendant was released on bail and was caught selling fentanyl again. A significant prison sentence was warranted,” District Attorney Quinn said.

— Bristol County District Attorney’s Office

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