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Manchester man gets up to 30 years for possession of synthetic opioid

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 11. 2017 11:48PM


MANCHESTER — A Manchester man whose alleged possession of carfentanil made him the subject of a nationwide manhunt was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in state prison Wednesday on an unrelated charge of possessing a synthetic opioid with the intent to distribute.

Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald and Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard announced Wednesday that Preston Thorpe, 25, of Manchester, was sentenced in Hillsborough County Superior Court North to 15 to 30 years in the New Hampshire State Prison for possessing an ounce of what is known as U-47700 with the intent to distribute. U-47700 is a synthetic opioid and classified as a Schedule I drug, according to state officials.

“This prosecution, and the resulting sentence, send a significant message to those who would trade and do business with this dangerous narcotic,” said MacDonald in a statement. “The possession and distribution of opioids, such as U-47700, will not be tolerated and this sentence highlights the significant sanctions for those who do so. Mr. Thorpe’s actions are part of the larger opioid epidemic plaguing New Hampshire, and this prosecution and sentencing demonstrate that there are visible consequences for those, like Mr. Thorpe, who knowingly perpetuate the problem.”

On December 24, 2016, Manchester police found 30 grams of U-47700 in Thorpe’s residence at 50 Sentinel Court, Apt. 306. Additional evidence was also found inside the apartment, including two boxes of plastic baggies in proximity to the drugs and drug residue found on the kitchen countertops, which police said indicated Thorpe intended to distribute the drug.

Thorpe was convicted following a bench trial in Hillsborough County Superior Court in August.

Thorpe was the subject of a nationwide manhunt after police and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration searched his apartment on April 27 and found trace amounts of the drug, which is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and used as an elephant tranquilizer. DEA agents wore protective clothing while searching it because of the risks associated with carfentanil.

Thorpe was arrested about a week later at a city motel.

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