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Massachusetts drug trafficker sentenced to serve 18 years in state prison for distributing fentanyl and causing the death of a Rhode Island resident

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Massachusetts man was sentenced in Newport County Superior Court to serve 18 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after pleading to trafficking fentanyl that resulted in the death of 29-year-old Andrew Paiva in 2018.

Cary Pacheco (age 57) of Westport, Massachusetts entered a plea of nolo contendere to delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death.

At a hearing last week before Superior Court Justice William E. Carnes, Jr., the Court sentenced Pacheco to 35 years at the ACI with 18 years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation.

"Drug dealers those dealing fentanyl and heroin in particular must be the focus of our prosecutorial efforts. They prey on those who are addicted to controlled substances, drive overdose deaths, and often contribute to gun violence in our urban core," said Attorney General Neronha. "Here, the defendant a significant, repeated drug dealer knew exactly what he was doing: distributing a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl to whoever ultimately used it. He neither knew the victim nor cared what happened to him. He dealt drugs for profit, significant profit, without regard to the potentially life-altering consequences.

"Though it pales next to the price paid by his victim, he has now paid a heavy price himself: 18 years in state prison, every year entirely deserved," continued Attorney General Neronha. "I am grateful to Andrew's family for their strength throughout this prosecution and to the Newport Police Department for their fine work during the investigation."

Had the case proceeded to a trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on the evening of September 10, 2018, Pacheco delivered fentanyl to a third party who then delivered the fentanyl to Andrew Paiva, which resulted in his death by overdose.

That evening the third party sought to buy heroin from Pacheco, a drug trafficker from whom he had previously purchased heroin. The third party and Paiva traveled from Newport to Portsmouth to meet Pacheco.

While in Portsmouth, Pacheco met with the third party and sold him fentanyl, instead of what the individual believed to be heroin. After the transaction, the pair returned to Newport where the third party delivered the fentanyl to Paiva.

Several hours later, members of the Newport Police Department responded to a service call reporting an overdose at a shelter on Meeting Street, where they found Paiva unresponsive. Rescue personal transported Paiva to Newport Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Pacheco was ultimately arrested by Newport Police several weeks later, following the execution of a controlled buy of heroin by undercover officers in Newport. During the arrest officers seized 81 glassine bags that were confirmed by lab testing to each contain a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, and tramadol.

During the investigation, the Newport Police Department used evidence from Pacheco's GPS monitoring ankle bracelet to confirm his presence at the location and time where he sold the fentanyl to the third party. At the time, Pacheco was on probation stemming from drug distribution charges in Massachusetts.

Pacheco has a lengthy criminal record, including 10 separate arrests for distribution and/or possession from 1984 through 2017. In 2017, Pacheco was arrested twice in Massachusetts for possession with intent to distribute narcotics.

Delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death, better known as Kristen's Law, was enacted in 2018 and establishes a criminal penalty of up to life in prison for an individual who delivers a controlled substance that results in death. The law is named after Kristen Coutu, a Cranston woman who passed away in 2014 after taking a fatal dose of fentanyl.

Assistant Attorneys General Roger Demers and Bethany A. Laskowski of the Office of the Attorney General and Lieutenant Michael Naylor and Detective Ryan Doyle of the Newport Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.


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