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Man caught with $35k in steroids to plead guilty

BRENTWOOD - A man caught with $35,000 worth of steroids after being pulled over by sheriff's investigators on Route 125 in Brentwood has struck a plea agreement with county prosecutors.

Mark Ferrara, 24, of Wilmington, Mass., will plead guilty to a felony drug charge next month and could face upwards of two to six years in state prison, according to the terms of the deal. Ferrara would also receive an additional suspended state prison sentence of 3 ½ to 7 years, which would begin once he is released on parole. A judge will have to approve the deal at a plea-and-sentencing hearing on May 3 and decide the length of an exact prison term.

Ferrara was arrested June 4 by the Rockingham County sheriff's Drug Task Force as part of a three month probe. His vehicle was stopped by investigators in the northbound lane of Route 125 around 2:45 p.m. Deputies found about 8,000 pills of various steroids, another 1,090 milliliters of injectable steroids, $1,100 in cash and hypodermic needles during a search of the car, the sheriff's department said.Wilmington, Mass., police executed a search warrant at Ferrara's home following his arrest and found $47,000 in cash, more steroids and about 200 hypodermic needles, they said.

Ferrara was initially expected to go on trial in January. His lawyer, John Gillen, asked to put off the trial so that he could continue to negotiate a possible plea bargain.Gillen told a judge he wanted his client "properly evaluated by mental health professionals" so he could recommend a treatment program that could be considered during sentencing. He said in court papers that Ferrara "has been enrolled in professional therapy sessions and is currently being evaluated for several potential mental health issues."

Prosecutors had originally offered Ferrara a two to six year prison term back in October, but plea negotiations have been ongoing in the case. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration / Cross Border Initiative in Lowell, Mass., Kingston, Plaistow and Somersworth police departments also assisted in the investigation. If the case were to go to trial, Ferrara would face the possibility of up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison and a $100,000 fine, according to court records.

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