Federal prosecutors are focusing their efforts on Hillsborough County, including the cities of Manchester and Nashua, in a new crackdown on synthetic opioid dealers.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the effort, called Operation Synthetic Opioid Surge (SOS for short), during a stop in Concord last week.
It’s a nationwide push, targeting a single county in each of 10 districts in the U.S. -- areas that have been hardest hit by the drug crisis.
In those counties, local prosecutors will hand off all “readily provable” cases involving the distribution of synthetic opioids to the U.S. attorney’s office. The cases will then be tried at the federal level, regardless of the quantity of drugs involved.
For some defendants, that will mean longer jail time. Federal judges, unlike their state-level counterparts, are bound by mandatory minimum sentences.
“This is the law enforcement approach to attacking the drug problem,” said Scott Murray, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire. “We’re fully aware of the fact that people need treatment, and to the extent that we can facilitate that through the criminal process, we will. But the harm these people are doing to society is too great not to attempt to address it, and that’s what we’re doing.”