BRENTWOOD — A man who believed he was selling $10,000 in steroids to the Hells Angels last June got a surprise when he was pulled over on Route 125 in Brentwood and learned he was actually dealing with undercover sheriff deputies.
Mark Ferrara, 25, of Wilmington, Mass. appeared shocked again on Tuesday — his knees buckling while standing before a judge — when he was sentenced 1 to 3 years in state prison after pleading guilty to felony drug charges.
He pleaded guilty to 10 counts of possession of a controlled drug with intent to sell in Rockingham County Superior Court. Prosecutors revealed for the first time during Tuesday’s hearing that Ferrara thought he was dealing with the Hells Angels last June 4.
He met with a group of men claiming to be members of the motorcycle club at an undisclosed location in Plaistow, and spent an hour and a half explaining how to use the steroids. But Ferrara was actually in the middle of a drug sting surrounded by sheriff deputies. He was arrested shortly after the meeting on Route 125 in Brentwood — en route to Laconia to complete the transaction, according to Assistant County Attorney Michael Zaino. Deputies recovered roughly 8,000 pills and 1,090 milliliters of injectable steroids.
“Obviously, it wasn’t real, but that was his mind set,” Zaino said, arguing for a two- to six-year prison term. Ferrara’s lawyer, John Gillen, called the scenario of deputies posing as members of the motorcycle club as “laughable” while arguing for a time-served sentence of 103 days.
Judge N. William Delker said he didn’t share Gillen’s view of the situation, citing Ferrara’s willingness to do business with an organization that is “rightly or wrongly known for its criminal acts.”
“The fact that he offered to go to Laconia with them to complete the sale — I find that particularly disturbing,” Delker said. Zaino said Ferrara expected to reap $10,000 from the sale, but sheriff deputies later estimated the street value for the assortment of anabolic steroids at $35,000. The defense disputed the estimated street value.
Gillen argued his client was a body builder, who began selling anabolic steroids he bought of the Internet as a means to support his own steroids habit. He said Ferrara was only selling to people who were into body building, and was not trying to set up a criminal enterprise of any kind.“
It’s a rarefied group of people who are interested in this,” Gillen said.
“The people he sold steroids to were people of that world. They were part of the gym world.”
He said Ferrara’s experience of being held at the county jail was “absolutely terrifying.” Ferrara had no criminal record prior to his arrest.