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Fairhaven man gets no jail time for involvement in drug trafficking organization



A 45-year-old Fairhaven man who was recorded numerous times on a lawfully obtained wiretap negotiating and arranging the purchase and delivery of heroin sold by the Ortiz Heroin Trafficking Organization was sentenced to serve no jail time despite being convicted this week of Conspiracy in Fall River Superior Court, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

According to Gregg Miliote of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, Jose Sanchez pleaded guilty to the Conspiracy indictment on Monday. Judge Sharon Donatelle sentenced the defendant to an 18 month house of corrections term, but immediately suspended that sentence and placed him on three years of probation.

The defendant was arrested and charged as a result of the extensive 2017 Opiate-related wiretap investigation into the Ortiz Heroin Trafficking Organization, dubbed “Operation High Stakes.”

On May 22, 2017 and May 27, 2017, the defendant discussed with the alleged leader of the organization setting up a meeting with a new Rhode Island heroin customer looking to purchase one to two Fingers of Heroin, (a Finger of heroin = 10 grams), per day. The defendant and the alleged leader of the organization discuss going to Rhode Island to meet this customer with a sample of their product.

In an unrelated conversation on May 28, 2017, the defendant called the alleged leader of the organization looking to purchase a “Q”, (a quarter of a finger, 2.5 grams), for one of his customers. On that same day, in another conversation, they discussed the mechanics of how the defendant is acquiring his heroin from the organization. The alleged leader of the organization encouraged the defendant to purchase larger quantities so he doesn’t run out of product so quickly. In a third conversation that same day, the defendant spoke about an individual named Pedro who had purchased heroin from the organization and was unhappy with the product he received.

Finally, on June 2, 2017, the two men had an argument on the phone about the alleged leader of the organization not getting back to him in a timely manner. The defendant’s customer went elsewhere and the defendant was mad because he lost the sale of heroin.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Steve Butts, who argued that the defendant should serve at least two to four years in state prison.

Despite the fact that the defendant was on probation at the time of his arrest for an unrelated drug case and the fact that the defendant was on tape discussing his role as a heroin dealer for the organization on numerous occasions, the defendant avoided jail time.

“This defendant was part of a major drug trafficking organization that was delivering huge amounts of heroin and fentanyl in the New Bedford area. He was also on probation at the time of his arrest,” District Attorney Quinn said. “Based on his record and his involvement in this organization, he clearly should have been sent to prison.”

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