May 27, 2018
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Federal grand jury indicts 10 out-of-staters in heroin distribution ring

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal grand jury has indicted 10 people from outside Maine on charges related to a drug ring that is alleged to have distributed heroin in York County and Rochester, N.H., over a three-year period.

The following people are charged with conspiracy to distribute, and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram (2.2 pounds) or more of heroin between January 2010 and Feb. 12, 2013:

• Juan Urena, 24, of Lawrence, Mass.

• Tasha Smith, 24, of Rochester, N.H.

• Andy Urena, 24, of Lawrence, Mass.

• Jeremiah Sturmer, 28, of Rochester, N.H.

• Nicholas Schwarz, 25, of Rochester, N.H.

• Scott Woodman, 28, of Rochester, N.H.

• Mitch Merritt, 29, of Rochester, N.H.

• Jose “Victorino” Alvarez, 40, of Salem, N.H.

• John “Alberto” Doe, age unknown, of Lawrence, Mass.

• Efrain Urena, 22, of Lawrence, Mass.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Merritt and Schwarz are charged with possession with the intent to distribute heroin. The men were recorded in July by agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration making a sale to a confidential defendant who is not identified in court documents.

The Urenas are cousins, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

The grand jury handed up the indictment Feb. 12. It was sealed until Valentine’s Day, when the defendants were arrested, according to information posted on the federal court system’s website.

Merritt, Schwarz, Smith, Sturmer and Alvarez pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court in Portland last week. All are being held without bail.

Woodman’s arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

The Urenas and Doe are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Boston this week, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Trial dates have not been set.

If convicted, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life and a fine of up to $10 million. Merritt and Schwarz also face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million on the possession charge.

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