BOSTON – A drug distributor within a Boston-area drug trafficking organization (DTO) pleaded guilty yesterday to a drug trafficking conspiracy involving cocaine and cocaine base.
Nelsin Hernandez, 31, of Brighton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for Sept. 22, 2022.
Hernandez was charged with 23 others in June 2020 as part of Operation Snowfall, which ultimately resulted in the charging of two different drug trafficking conspiracies during the overall period of November 2018 through June 2020.
According to the charging documents, beginning in November 2018, law enforcement investigated a DTO in which Hernandez was a drug distributor. The DTO 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 Hernandez and others stored, cooked, packaged, and sold drugs – most of which consisted of 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. As the investigation continued, law enforcement ultimately identified another DTO operating within the Boston area and targeted its large-scale drug suppliers and their associates.
Hernandez distributed between approximately 100 and 200 grams of cocaine base during the course of his participation in the Fidelis Way DTO. Hernandez is the fourth defendant to plead guilty in the conspiracy. The remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty and are pending trial.
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, at least three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release 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.