Westport man convicted of selling lethal dose of fentanyl

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PROVIDENCE, RI – A Westport man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for selling a lethal dose of fentanyl that resulted in the 2018 death of a Rhode Island man who believed he was using heroin.

The Rhode Island attorney general’s office announced Monday that Cary Pacheco, 57, had argued without challenge last week to charges of trafficking fentanyl causing death.

A plea of ​​no contest is not the same as pleading guilty because there is no admission of guilt.

Pacheco is the first to be sentenced under Kristen’s Law, a Rhode Island law that came into effect in 2018 and provides a sentence of up to life in prison for anyone delivering controlled substances causing death .

He was charged with selling fentanyl in September 2018 to a third party, who then delivered it to Andrew Paiva, 29, resulting in his overdose death in Newport.

Paiva and the third believed the drug they bought from Pacheco was heroin, according to the GA’s office.

Upon his release from prison, Pacheco will spend an additional 17 years on probation.

On September 10, the anonymous middleman sought to buy heroin from Pacheco, a drug dealer he had previously bought heroin from, the AG’s office said.

Paiva and the third party traveled to Portsmouth to meet with Pacheco, who allegedly sold the person fentanyl instead of heroin, before returning to Newport.

Several hours later, Newport Police responded to an overdose call at a Meeting Street shelter to find Paiva unconscious.

Emergency crews took Paiva to Newport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Weeks later, after a controlled buying operation in which undercover agents bought heroin from Pacheco in Newport, Pacheco was arrested.

During the arrest, officers seized 81 glass bags which, according to laboratory tests, contained a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl and tramadol.

Pacheco was then on probation for drug trafficking in Massachusetts.

Newport Police were able to use evidence from his GPS monitoring bracelet to confirm his presence at the location and time he sold the fentanyl to the third party.

Pacheco has a long criminal record, including 10 separate arrests for distribution and / or possession from 1984 to 2017.

In 2017, Pacheco was arrested twice in Massachusetts for possession with intent to distribute drugs.

“Drug traffickers – those who sell fentanyl and heroin in particular – must be at the center of our prosecution efforts,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha.

“Here, the accused – a prominent and repeat drug trafficker – knew exactly what he was doing: dispensing a potentially fatal dose of fentanyl to whoever ultimately used it.”

“He didn’t know the victim and didn’t care what happened to him,” Neronha added.

“Although this pales beside the price paid by his victim, he has now paid a heavy price for himself: 18 years in state prison, each year fully deserved.”

Kristen’s Law was enacted in 2018 and establishes a criminal sentence of up to life in prison for anyone who delivers a controlled substance causing death.

The law is named after Kristen Coutu, a woman from Cranston who died in 2014 after taking a lethal dose of fentanyl.

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