Fentanyl

This photo from the New Hampshire State Police Forensics Lab shows the difference in the size a lethal dose of heroin and a lethal dose of fentanyl.

LACONIA — Two men are each facing up to 30 years in prison after being indicted for selling fentanyl in central New Hampshire in quantities large enough to kill more than 300,000 people.

Mariano A. Santos, 29, and Luis Soriano, 34, both of Boston, were indicted by a Belknap County grand jury last week on charges of conspiracy to sell a controlled drug, and sale of a controlled drug.

The case was presented to the grand jury by the state Attorney General’s Office.

An indictment is not an indication of guilt. Rather it is a finding by a grand jury that enough evidence of an alleged crime exists to warrant bringing the case to trial.

Both men are charged with selling 1½ pounds of fentanyl to an informant — referred to as a “cooperating individual” in the indictment — in Tilton this past Jan. 29. The two are alleged to have been working in concert prior to Santos' arrest in North Conway on Feb. 12, when he was found to have about 1⅔ pounds of fentanyl, according to the indictment.

Deputy Attorney General Jane Young characterized the case as involving a "significant amount" of fentanyl, but declined to comment further

A single 2 milligram dose of fentanyl (there are 453,592 milligrams in a pound) is lethal for most people, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

A pound and a half of fentanyl is worth about $150,000 on the street, according to the DEA.

According to the indictment, the investigation into Santos and Soriano had been going on for at least a year prior to Santos’ arrest on Feb. 12. Two informants and one undercover officer, in addition to other unspecified people, were involved in the investigation.

Both the drug trafficking conspiracy and drug sale charges which the men face are special felonies which carry the potential of 15 to 30 years in prison, according to the indictment.

The affidavit outlining what authorities learned during the course of their investigation has been sealed.

Santos is being held in preventive detention in the Carroll County Jail. Soriano is still at large and a warrant has been issued for his arrest, Young said.

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