'Runner' for drug ring sentenced

·2 min read

Aug. 11—SALEM — A Peabody man, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to fentanyl distribution and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin, was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in prison by a federal judge, the U.S. Attorney's office announced.

Francisco "Jose" Tavarez, 25, will spend three years on supervised release following his prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton ordered.

Tavarez was identified as a "runner" for Yeffry Reynoso, of Lynn, who is currently serving a 150-month (12 1/2 year) prison term for his role in the operation. Investigators learned that Reynoso was using various associates to deliver the drugs.

The investigation began after an overdose in Melrose in January 2017. Reynoso was identified as a source of drugs for the victim on a regular basis in 2016, selling heroin and a heroin/fentanyl mix.

Investigators used a cooperating witness to purchase heroin and fentanyl from Reynoso in the spring of 2017; that witness then introduced Reynoso to an undercover officer posing as another customer.

Tavarez was the person who showed up to deliver the drugs to the undercover officer, prosecutors said.

He was also seen engaging in other suspected transactions with Reynoso's other customers, prosecutors said.

Following one of these suspected deals, in Salem, officers stopped Tavarez and seized small amounts of fentanyl, a fentanyl/cocaine mixture and $2,340 in cash from his car.

In a press release announcing the sentence Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins called the case "an unfortunate illustration of the deadly effects of opioids and the destruction they cause to people, families and communities."

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from Salem and Melrose police.

— Julie Manganis, Staff Writer

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis