Federal, state, and local law enforcement agents today announced they have dealt a "crushing blow" to two major fentanyl trafficking organizations in Massachusetts. The networks are based in Lawrence and Methuen, and a recent arrest in Fall River provided key information that led to the Lawrence bust.

From Thursday to Saturday in several locations, authorities confiscated 6.5 kilograms of fentanyl and heroin with an estimated street value of $1.4 million, State Police Col. Christopher Mason said at today's press briefing. Five people were arrested and a sixth suspect remained at large after cutting off his GPS monitor, Mason said.

Mason said that on Thursday, police confiscated cash and 2.2 kilos of fentanyl in Fall River, and several search warrants led them to Jose Baez-Lara, 32, of Lawrence. State police set up a controlled buy from Baez-Lara in the parking lot of a Fall River restaurant, and when he showed up he was arrested and charged with narcotics trafficking. Police say they found a gift bag on the front seat of his Honda SUV that contained 15 bricks of fentanyl.

State police say they took down a similar major trafficking operation in Methuen, and arrested two women inside a vehicle in Boston. They seized significant amounts of cash as well as digital scales and other paraphernalia.

The series of busts capped a month-long investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Interstate Narcotics Reduction and Enforcement Team known as CINRET. CINRET was aided by the MSP Gang Unit, members of the Southeastern Massachusetts Gang Task Force, and local police in several communities.

Also speaking at today's press event at State Police headquarters in Framingham were Homeland Security Investigations Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge David Magdycz, Brockton Police Chief Emmanuel Gomes, and East Bridgewater Police Chief Paul O’Brien.

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