BOSTON – The main supplier and drug distributor of two Boston-area drug trafficking organizations (DTO) pleaded guilty yesterday to cocaine trafficking conspiracy.
Kenji Drayton, 41, of Boston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for Aug. 10, 2022.
Drayton was charged with 23 others in June 2020 as part of Operation Snowfall.
According to the charging documents, beginning in November 2018, law enforcement investigated a DTO – for which Drayton was a principal drug supplier – that was comprised of Boston-based street gang members and associates in the Commonwealth Development in Brighton, formerly known as Fidelis Way, a multi-apartment public housing development. It is alleged that the DTO assumed control over multiple apartments, where they stored, cooked, packaged and sold drugs – most of which was cocaine or cocaine base, which the DTO supplied to customers, wholesalers and distributors. As a result, the DTO caused a blight of the development and reduced the quality of life of the other residents.
The second part of the investigation targeted large-scale drug suppliers and their associates. It is alleged that the DTO continued to distribute cocaine and cocaine base throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown. Intercepted communications in spring 2020 revealed Drayton complained about drug supply shortages resulting from the pandemic. On one call, Drayton discussed a co-conspirator’s travels to California to obtain significant quantities of cocaine for the DTO.
Drayton served as one of the main up-the-chain drug suppliers and distributors within each of the identified DTOs. Drayton purchased, sold and distributed wholesale quantities of cocaine as part of each DTO and is estimated to have distributed a total of over 3.5 kilograms of cocaine.
Drayton is the second defendant to plead guilty in the Fidelis-Way related drug conspiracy, and the 11th defendant to plead guilty in the other charged drug conspiracy case. The remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty and are pending trial. One defendant, Derek Hart, remains at large.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. The charge of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, supervised release for at least three years up to life and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
First Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Douglas Bartlett, Acting U.S. Marshal for the District of Massachusetts; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Boston Police Acting Commissioner Gregory Long made the announcement. Assistance with the investigation was provided by the Braintree, Cambridge, Canton, Randolph and Weymouth Police Departments; the Suffolk, Norfolk and Bristol County District Attorneys’ Offices; and the Suffolk, Plymouth and Norfolk County Sheriffs’ Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kaitlin R. O’Donnell and Timothy E. Moran of the Organized Crime & Gang Unit are prosecuting the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.