SALEM, Mass. — The parents of a toddler who was exposed to the deadly, manmade opioid fentanyl have been indicted by the Essex County grand jury.
Lawrence residents McDanner Pereyra and Jennifer Ouch, both age 27, now will be arraigned in Salem Superior Court ,where the penalties they face if convicted will be more severe.
Their daughter, age 1, was expected to make a full recovery after being exposed to fentanyl last month, police said.
The couple was indicted on charges of trafficking more than 10 grams of fentanyl, unlawful possession of a large capacity weapon and illegal possession of ammunition, according to court papers.
Their arraignments in Superior Court are expected in the near future.
Pereyra and Ouch were both previously arraigned Feb. 19 in Lawrence District Court. Both were arrested after testing revealed the presence of fentanyl in their one-year-old daughter.
Pereyra was ordered held without bail, while Ouch was released on $10,000 cash bail and ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device and stay in her home at all times.
Police said Ouch brought the child to Lawrence General Hospital after she found a pill in the girl’s mouth. The emergency room visit triggered the investigation that resulted in the couple’s arrest.
Ouch initially lied, saying the baby found the pill on a store floor, according to police. However, the girl’s 6-year-old brother told officers she actually picked up the pill at their home and put it in her mouth.
Fearing state protective care workers might take the child away, Pereyra admitted to police that he told Ouch, his girlfriend, to lie and say the pill came from the store, according to a police report.
After the child tested positive for fentanyl, detectives and investigators with the state Department of Children and Families went to the hospital and interviewed the parents as well as her brother.
Police then obtained a search warrant for Pereyra and Ouch’s home at 65 Osgood St.
Detectives said they found two plastic bags with fentanyl, one containing 32.1 grams and the other 11.8 grams.
They also found two and a half “bars” of Xanax, according to authorities.
Police also found a gun box under a bed containing a magazine with 11 9-mm rounds, a pistol holster, assorted firearm accessories and an operation manual for a semi-automatic pistol, police said.
They located $896 in cash under the mattress and found several boxes of 7.62-mm rounds of ammunition, 23 loose 9-mm rounds and 20 loose 7.62-mm rounds in a drawer in a front room, police said.
Pereyra denied owning a gun, according to investigators.
After the arrests, the children were placed in DCF custody, authorities said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.