A 23-year-old man from Woburn has been indicted on a slew of gun and drug charges and will be arraigned in Middlesex and Essex next month. Starling Guerrero was busted back in June for allegedly possessing 2,500 grams of fentanyl, 900 pain pills, two guns, and more than $70,000 in cash, according to the Attorney General’s office.
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than morphine. Law enforcement officials are increasingly worried over how it’s being cut with heroin, and many experts have expressed concern that it has played a significant role in the surge of overdoses the state has wrestled with in recent years.
During my research on the Massachusetts heroin crisis, Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello said that his department had come across at least two bags of what users thought was heroin, but after testing turned out to be mostly fentanyl. Campanello expressed trepidation over the fact that fentanyl can be created in a laboratory at relatively low costs, while heroin production is a labor-intensive process that requires a significant amount of land for poppy to be grown and cultivated, and a workforce and supply chains for it to be converted into heroin.
In August, Attorney General Maura Healey filed a bill to make fentanyl trafficking a state crime.
“I think until recently it just wasn’t a drug that was trafficked in large amounts, but now we are seeing it substituted for heroin in some cases, and other times it is cut into heroin, so we feel like we need a separate offense now,” Healey said.
In announcing the indictment of Guerrero, the AG’s office noted that the Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed the fentanyl legislation and that it was urging the state Senate to follow suit.
Guerrero’s arrest was the result of a taskforce that included officers from Lawrence, troopers from the Massachusetts State Police, and agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency.
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