Rhode Island Attorney General

12/05/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/05/2019 10:04

Pawtucket man sentenced to 15 years at the ACI after pleading guilty to possessing over 10,000 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that Matthew Heal (age 43), of Pawtucket, was sentenced on November 20, 2019 in Providence County Superior Court to 15 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) after being found guilty of possessing over 10,000 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl. Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause sentenced Heal to 30 years with 15 years to serve and the balance suspended with probation.

Heal pleaded guilty on September 12, 2019 to one count of possession with intent to deliver (fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin), one count of possession of a firearm while possessing with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and one count of possession of a firearm after a conviction for a prohibited domestic offense.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on November 29, 2018, the Pawtucket Police Department executed a search warrant at Heal's residence and seized 10,585 counterfeit pills containing: fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl; bags of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine; and a Savage Arms Model 1899 .22 caliber rifle.

The 10,585 counterfeit pills, weighing approximately 1,100 grams, contained mixtures of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs including: 1,465 pills containing acetyl fentanyl and fentanyl; 3,861 pills containing furanyl fentanyl and fentanyl; 4,452 pills containing furanyl fentanyl; and 807 pills containing fentanyl.

Pawtucket Police also seized one bag each of fentanyl (68 grams), furanyl fentanyl and heroin mixture (0.59 grams), and cocaine (2.22 grams).

Additionally, Heal is prohibited from possessing firearms because he was previously convicted of domestic simple assault.

Detectives Scott Sullivan, Mario Comella, and Michael Costigan of the Pawtucket Police Department led the investigation into the case with assistance from the Rhode Island Forensic Drug chemistry Lab. Assistant Attorney General Joseph McBurney and Special Assistant Attorney General Katelyn Revens prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.