RI man sentenced in North Dakota fentanyl case

US & World

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Rhode Island man accused by prosecutors of having a “leadership role” an international fentanyl trafficking operation has been sentenced in North Dakota to 33 years in federal prison.

Steven Pinto is one of more than 30 people, including a handful of Chinese nationals, accused of dealing large amounts of the powerful opioid in the U.S. and Canada.

Deaths from the drug traced to the operation have been reported in North Dakota, North Carolina, New Jersey and Oregon.

The 40-year-old Pinto, of Pawtucket, was convicted by a jury in June following a five-week trial.

The investigation known as “Operation Denial” began after 18-year-old Bailey Henke, of Grand Forks, North Dakota, died from a fatal overdose in January 2015.

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