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N.H. Police Charge Out-of-State Drug Dealer in Overdose Death for The First Time

Paige Sutherland/NHPR
N.H. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announces charges Tuesday against a Massachusetts drug dealer accused of causing the death of a Rochester man.

The state of New Hampshire is going after a high-level drug dealer out of Lawrence accused of causing the death of a Rochester resident.

This is the first time local law enforcement has brought charges against someone out of state in connection with a New Hampshire drug overdose death. 

Last October, 30-year-old father of two Brandon Laurion died from a fentanyl overdose. Investigators say they later found out that he got that supply from Lawrence, specifically from 31-year-old Viterbo Enrique-Minaya, aka Francisco Rodriguez-Benitez. Police say Minaya is a known drug dealer and has been supplying to the Rochester area for almost a year now.

Credit Courtesy of the N.H. Attorney General's Office
Francisco Rodriguez Benitez, 31, of Lawrence is being charged with supplying the lethal dose that killed Brandon Laurion of Rochester in 2016.

In a news conference held in Rochester on Tuesday morning, N.H. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald told reporters although this is the first out-of-state arrest, it will not be the last.

“Our message to those who think they will avoid New Hampshire consequences by conducting their drug sales beyond our borders is clear – you will be held accountable," MacDonald said.

Minaya is currently serving a three-year sentence on drug-related crimes in Walpole, Mass. When he’s released he will be turned over to Rochester authorities where he’ll face charges and a potential life sentence.

Jon DeLena with the Drug Enforcement Agency says the investigation involved local, state, federal, and Massachusetts police.

“This opioid crisis that is affecting New Hampshire in such a devastating way – sees no borders. And today is evidence of how we must combat what is going on," DeLena said. 

According to court records, Minaya, known on the streets as "Tony," was discovered by using phone records from those who joined Laurion during his drug run to Lawrence the day before he died.

Laurion was one of 19 people who lost their lives to an opioid overdose in Rochester last year. So far this year, the city has had 16 opioid-related deaths.

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