Fitchburg Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Crack Cocaine
Worcester, MA... A Fitchburg man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to drug charges.
June W. Stansbury, Special Agent In Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; John J. Conte, Worcester County District Attorney; and Edward F. Cronin, Chief of the Fitchburg Police Department, announced that ARNALDO ORTIZ-GONZALEZ, age 21, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty before today U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV to an Indictment charging him with Conspiracy to Distribute and Distribution of Crack Cocaine.
At yesterday's plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the evidence would have proven that from November, 2004 until January, 2005, ORTIZGONZALEZ conspired with others in Fitchburg to distribute crack cocaine and distributed crack cocaine. On multiple occasions, between November 4, 2004 and December 4, 2004, ORTIZ-GONZALEZ sold quantities of crack cocaine to a DEA Special Agent acting in an undercover capacity.
Judge Saylor scheduled sentencing for February 27, 2005. ORTIZ-GONZALEZ faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and up to a maximum of 40 years. ORTIZGONZALEZ was arrested on May 27, 2005 in connection with the charges and has remained in custody since that time.
ORTIZ-GONZALEZ was one of several individuals charged in May of this year in a series of cases investigated by the DEA’s Mobile Enforcement Team (“MET”) which had been working in cooperation with the Fitchburg Police Department and the North Worcester Drug Task Force since September, 2004. Their focus was on the distribution of various controlled substances, including cocaine, crack, heroin and ecstasy in Fitchburg and surrounding areas. As a result of their cooperative efforts, a total of forty individuals were charged either in federal or state court (eleven federal and twenty-nine state).
The Mobile Enforcement Team program was created by the DEA in early 1995 to assist local law enforcement in responding to the overwhelming problem of drug-related crime that plagues neighborhoods and communities throughout the United States. The challenges facing law enforcement today are daunting. The increasing sophistication of drug-trafficking organizations make drug law enforcement more difficult than ever before. The MET program helps local law enforcement entities attack drug organizations in their neighborhoods and restores a safer environment for the residents of these communities.
MET Agents assist local law enforcement officers in the following ways:
Local police chiefs, county sheriffs, and state and local prosecutors who feel that there is a need for MET assistance in their jurisdiction can submit a written request to the DEA Special Agent in Charge responsible for their particular area. Upon acceptance of a request, the MET in that jurisdiction sends a pre-deployment assessment team consisting of two to three agents to meet with the requesting official and other cooperating local law enforcement agencies in order to evaluate the problem. Upon approval, the entire MET is deployed to that city to begin investigative activity against the primary drug trafficking individuals and organizations identified in the pre-deployment assessment.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Mobile Enforcement Team, together with the Fitchburg Police Department, the North Worcester County Drug Task Force, and Worcester County District Attorney John J. Conte's Office, with the assistance of the Worcester County Sheriff's Department, and the U.S. Marshal's Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John M. Hodgens, Jr., Chief of Sullivan's Worcester Office.