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City man charged with dealing synthetic painkiller linked to epidemic of heroin overdoses

March 5, 2014

WOONSOCKET – A local man has been arrested on federal charges of distributing fentanyl and street heroin laced with the synthetic painkiller, which has been linked to a dramatic spike in fatal overdoses.

Alfredo Balestier-Sanchez, 32, of 117 Earle St., was ordered detained Wednesday after an appearance before a federal magistrate in Providence. He was arrested Tuesday, when a month-long joint investigation by the Woonsocket Police Department and the Rhode Island Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force culminated in a search of Balestier-Sanchez’s apartment, said Jim Martin, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Papers filed with the court say Balestier-Sanchez – known as “Negro” to his customers – sold fentanyl or a heroin/fentanyl blend to a police informant on three occasions between Feb. 12 and Feb. 20. Investigators also seized four packets of the drug when, armed with a warrant, they searched his apartment. The drugs were hidden in a canister of deodorant.

Full story appears on page A1 of Thursday's Call.

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