Westerly joins national lawsuit against opioid distributors

A Pawtucket man who pleaded guilty in September to possessing more than 10,000 counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl has been sentenced to serve 15 years in prison.

The man, Matthew Heal, 43, was sentenced in late November in Bristol County Superior Court to serve 30 years in prison with 15 to serve and the balance suspended with probation upon release, according to court records. Heal was convicted of possession of fentanyl with the intent to deliver, possession of a firearm with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm after a conviction for a prohibited domestic offense.

He was  arrested at his home on Nov. 29, 2018, after the Pawcatuck police, armed with a search warrant, seized 10,585 counterfeit pills, 68 grams of fentanyl powder, .59 grams of a furanyl fentanyl and heroin mixture, and 2.22 grams of cocaine. The police also seized a Savage Arms Model 1899 .22-caliber rifle. The police said the counterfeit pills contained mixtures of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs including acetyl fentanyl and furanyl fentanyl, according to court documents.

Heal began serving his sentence on Nov. 29, according to Rhode Island Department of Corrections records.

— Jason Vallee

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