BOSTON (WBSM) — A New Bedford man was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for his role in a drug trafficking organization operating in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Jason Cruz, 42, was sentenced to 16 months in prison and three years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty in May 2023 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

According to the U.S. Attorney, Cruz purchased fentanyl from the drug trafficking organization between April 2022 and June 2022 in order to redistribute it to others. He was caught on intercepted communications discussing the purchase of fentanyl, and surveillance footage showed other members of the organization visiting his home for brief periods of time, which the U.S. Attorney said is consistent with illegal drug trafficking.

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Cruz was arrested along with nine other people in July 2022 on suspicion of operating a drug trafficking ring after they were allegedly caught dealing nearly 15 kilograms of opioids, including sometimes passing drugs in cereal boxes outside supermarkets.

Less than a month later, all 10 were indicted on drug conspiracy charges. Two others were from New Bedford, with one from Taunton, one from Yarmouth and all the others hailing from Providence or Cranston, Rhode Island.

Cruz faced a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million.

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