LAWRENCE — Twelve locals arrested Friday in a major heroin and fentanyl trafficking investigation are being held on a variety of illegal narcotics charges and as much as $500,000 bail. 

The dozen individuals were arraigned in Lawrence and Haverhill District Courts after the probe, which involved wiretap warrants and was described by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office as a “large scale state and federal take down.” 

Nearly one kilo of heroin and fentanyl was seized during the investigation, according to information released by Healey’s office. 

Authorities allege the defendants were part of an extensive operation that brought large quantities of the illegal drugs into Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill and Peabody. 

The investigation culminated Friday with the execution of search warrants at multiple locations in Haverhill and Lawrence. Authorities said they seized approximately 600 grams of suspected heroin and fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a manmade opioid that is 50 times stronger than morphine. Dealers often mix heroin and fentanyl together and sell the doses. 

Prior to Friday’s arrests, authorities seized approximately 300 additional grams of suspected heroin and fentanyl during the course of the investigation, Healey said.

The following individuals were arraigned and all pleaded not guilty to the following charges in in Lawrence District Court Monday:

Kenni Luna-Percel, (aka. Helton Jose Marin Perez) of Lowell; Trafficking over 200 grams of heroin, two counts trafficking over 100 grams of heroin and conspiracy. Held on $500,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 29. Santo Angel-Perez, (aka Joused Gracia-Canales), of Peabody; Trafficking over 200 grams of heroin and conspiracy. Held on $300,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 29. “Jose Figueroa” of Lawrence; Trafficking over 200 grams of heroin and conspiracy. Held on $500,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 30. Miguel Eligio Cruz Prandy, (aka Miguel Cruz Prade) of Lawrence; Trafficking over 200 grams of heroin, two counts trafficking over 100 grams of heroin and conspiracy. Held on $500,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 29. Kristina Ramos, (aka Ivonne Bolorin) of Lowell; Trafficking over 200 grams of heroin and conspiracy. Held on $300,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 29. Aneudy Tejeda-Soto of Lawrence; Trafficking over 200 grams of heroin and conspiracy. Held on $500,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 30. Jesus Tejeda-Tejeda of Lawrence; Trafficking over 200 grams of heroin and conspiracy. Held on $500,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 29. Alfredin Mejia-Soto of Lawrence; Trafficking over 200 grams of heroin and conspiracy. Held on $500,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 30. Yunida Peguero-Beras of Lawrence; Knowingly being present where heroin is kept. Released on person recognizance and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 30. Christian Jose Brown of Lawrence; Conspiracy. Held on $2,500 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 30.  Also, according to Healey’s office, arraigned Friday in Haverhill District Court were the following; 

Cheryl Margosian of Haverhill; Three counts trafficking fentanyl. Held on $200,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 8. Richard Fuoco of Haverhill; Trafficking fentanyl. Held on $200,000 cash bail and scheduled to return to court on Nov. 16. The investigation involved Healey’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crime Division, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Healey’s office, the State Police Transportation Drug Unit, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill and Peabody Police Departments.

Healey’s office has been working closely with its federal, state and local partners to combat illegal drug trafficking.

The attorney general formed an internal task force to more aggressively combat the heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis in Massachusetts. The office is using a multi-faceted approach that includes education for prescribers, pursuing illegal drug traffickers and pill mills, and expanding access to recovery and treatment programs, according to information released by Healey’s office. 

She has committed a $1 million grant from the federal Department of Justice to form a new Fentanyl Strike Force.

In partnership with the Massachusetts State Police, the task force will target heroin and fentanyl traffickers and dismantle their distribution networks across Massachusetts. The funds will expand Healey’s office’s own drug enforcement work and has helped build enhanced partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health estimates that 2,069 people — the highest number ever recorded in the state and a 15 percent increase year-over-year – died from opioid overdoses in 2016.

The number of deaths from opioid overdoses involving fentanyl continued to climb last year, with more than 60 percent of the fatal overdoses last year involving the lethal drug.

Essex County is one of the counties in the state with the highest rate of overdoses.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.