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Fall River man admits to role in drug trafficking organization spanning SE Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, and beyond



BOSTON – A Fall River man pleaded guilty yesterday to his role in a drug distribution conspiracy involving oxycodone pills.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Justice, 37-year-old Austin Gonsalves pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for May 30, 2024. Gonsalves was arrested and charged along with five others in July 2023 for their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking organization that distributed oxycodone pills across Southeastern Massachusetts. The defendants were subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2023.

            Between at least February 2023 and May 2023, Gonsalves obtained oxycodone pills, allegedly from co-defendant Kenneth Veiga who allegedly received them from Christan Russell in the Houston area, which he then distributed to others. A search of Gonsalves’ Fall River residence in July 2023 resulted in the seizure of approximately $16,000 in cash and approximately 400 oxycodone pills.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; John E. Mawn Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police; Harry Chavis, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office; and Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Boston Division, made the announcement today. Special assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Coast Guard CGIS; Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office; and the Barnstable, Dennis, Bourne, Mashpee, Yarmouth, Sandwich and Falmouth Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Mulcahy of the Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

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