BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts mother and son who ran a large-scale drug ring that made and distributed hundreds of thousands of counterfeit pills containing the powerful opioid fentanyl to the region north of Boston have both received lengthy prison terms.
Vincent Caruso, 27, was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, while his mother, Laurie Caruso, 52, was sentenced to nine years behind bars, federal prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.
Vincent Caruso and his associates were also involved in shootings and armed robberies, which they bragged about on social media, prosecutor Joshua Levy said in a statement.
“Caruso, along with his mother and co-conspirator Laurie Caruso, pumped poison and violence into our communities and you won’t be hearing from them on Instagram for a long, long time,” he said.
The son, who according to prosecutors was an admitted member of the Crips gang, led the operation that sold the pills to multiple street gangs for further distribution in the Lynn area. Laurie Caruso was her son’s right hand and was the primary distributor, authorities said.
They distributed about 36 kilograms (79.5 pounds) of fentanyl, mostly in the form of an estimated 360,000 pills, a significant portion of which were manufactured by Caruso's organization using multiple pill presses.
It is estimated the Carusos generated millions of dollars that were then laundered by conducting cash transactions through sports bets at a New Hampshire casino, prosecutors said.
The Carusos “brought nothing but poison, mayhem, and violence to the North Shore of Massachusetts, and beyond,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, head of the FBI’s Boston bureau. “They peddled hundreds of thousands of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, capitalizing on those struggling with addiction, while raking in an obscene amount of money.”
The Carusos were arrested in June 2021, along with other members of the drug ring. Two others have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
Vincent Caruso pleaded guilty in March to drug, gun and money laundering charges. His mother pleaded guilty in February to a drug charge.