BOSTON – Three Worcester men have been convicted by a federal jury in Worcester of trafficking cocaine.
Junior Melendez, 41, Juan Rodriguez, 31 and Kevin Jean, 31, all of Worcester, were convicted on Wednesday, March 30th by a federal jury of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine. District Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencings of all three defendants in September 2022.
From March 2019 through early June 2019, law enforcement intercepted communications involving two cell phones used by the defendants pursuant to Court authorized wiretaps. Those interceptions revealed that Melendez, Rodriguez and Jean conspired with Angel Cordova, Antoine Mack, Carlos Richards and others to buy and sell multiple kilograms of cocaine. Melendez and Rodriguez purchased powder cocaine from Cordova, cooked a portion of that powder cocaine into cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), and then distributed the cocaine – frequently using Jean and Mack as their runners – to their primary buyer, Richards in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Cordova and Mack, who was also charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, previously pleaded guilty. In May 2020, Mack was sentenced to 54 months in prison. Cordova is scheduled to be sentenced on May 26, 2022. Richards remains a fugitive.
Melendez is a convicted felon and has previously served 109 months in federal prison for drug and firearms violations. Melendez is the alleged leader of the Massachusetts chapter of the Almighty Vice Lords street gang.
The charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine and cocaine base provides for a sentence of no greater than 40 years in prison, six years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Melendez faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years based on the volume of cocaine involved and his prior conviction. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; and Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent. During the investigation, valuable assistance was provided by Massachusetts State Police; New Hampshire State Police; Worcester County Sheriff’s Office; Shrewsbury Police Department; Athol Police Department; Winchendon Police Department and the Pawtucket, Rhode Island Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg A. Friedholm and Lauren A. Graber are prosecuting the case.