NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford man previously arrested in a massive narcotics trafficking investigation will spend three to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to dealing fentanyl while out on bail.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office said 31-year-old Jesus Santiago admitted to the drug distribution and conspiracy charges after he was arrested in a drug bust of his Malden Street home in July 2022.

Santiago was previously one of around a dozen people arrested as part of "Operation Lunch Break" in 2021, according to the D.A.'s office.

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The long-term covert investigation took down a drug trafficking organization led by New Bedford man Geraldo Rivera that had distributed large amounts of fentanyl and other drugs across the SouthCoast.

Santiago was charged in that case with conspiracy to violate the drug laws.

In July 2022, New Bedford police investigated a narcotics dealing service operated out of Santiago's home on Malden Street.

Police found more than 27 grams of fentanyl and 62 grams of marijuana packaged for sale during a search of the home.

Fall River Superior Court Judge Raffi Yessayan handed down the prison sentence.

"This defendant was arrested and was put on bail as part of our ‘Operation Lunch Break’ wiretap investigation," Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn said.

"While out pretrial release, he continued to trafficking in narcotics and was re-arrested. He has a history of drug dealing convictions and needs to be kept off the street to protect the public."

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