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Mass. man caught with $35k of steroids could cut plea deal

BRENTWOOD - A Massachusetts man caught with $35,000-worth of steroids after being pulled over along Route 125 in Brentwood has been in plea talks with county prosecutors that may allow him to avoid going to trial next month.

Mark Ferrara, 25, of Wilmington, Mass., who is facing 13 counts of possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, was arrested June 4 by the Rockingham County sheriff's Drug Task Force. Prosecutors had offered Ferrara a two-to-six-year prison term in October.

That deal apparently wasn't accepted, according to court papers, but plea negotiations have been ongoing. Defense lawyer John Gillen asked to put off Ferrara's initial January trial date so talks could continue.

Ferrara, he said in court papers, "has been enrolled in professional therapy sessions and is currently being evaluated for several potential mental health issues."

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. When Ferrara was arrested in June, deputies with the Rockingham County Sheriff's Drug Task Force said they found a trove 8,000 pills of various steroids in the vehicle.

Investigators also seized roughly 1,090 milliliters of injectable steroids, $1,100 in cash and hypodermic needles during the car search, the sheriff's department said.

Wilmington police executed a search warrant at Ferrara's home following his arrest. Police seized $47,000 in cash, along with more steroids and about 200 hypodermic needles, according to the sheriff's department.

Ferrara was the target of a three-month investigation, which included assistance by a variety of law enforcement agencies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the sheriff's department said. His vehicle was stopped by investigators in the northbound lane of Route 125 around 2:45 p.m.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration / Cross Border Initiative in Lowell, Mass., Kingston, Plaistow and Somersworth police departments also assisted in the investigation. Each of the charges carries a potential prison term of up to 3½ to 7 years and a $100,000 fine, according to court records.

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