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FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2011

BOSTON, Mass. - A Fitchburg man was sentenced today in federal court for selling crack cocaine in exchange for ammunition.

JOEL POLANCO, 23, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV to 10 years in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Polanco pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing crack cocaine and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition in March.

Had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that a Massachusetts State Trooper, working undercover, purchased a small quantity of crack cocaine from Polanco who had been previously convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing guns or ammunition. During the first sale of crack cocaine in February 2010, Polanco expressed an interest in buying a nine millimeter handgun and ammunition. When the undercover and Polanco met again days later, Polanco sold another small quantity of crack cocaine to the undercover and said he wanted to buy the ammunition and needed to "talk to his people" about buying the handgun. A week later, Polanco told the undercover that he wanted the ammunition only, and agreed to pay for it with crack cocaine. Shortly thereafter, Polanco then delivered a small quantity of crack cocaine to the undercover and the undercover delivered ammunition to Polanco. Polanco was arrested shortly after the arrest.

Polanco was identified as an associate of the Vice Lords street gang. He had tattoos reflecting his gang association.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Guy Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division, and Colonel Marian J. McGovern, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement today. The case was investigated by the Worcester Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Massachusetts State Police. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hennessy of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office.



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