Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
BOSTON – A Connecticut woman was sentenced today in federal court in Worcester for her role in a federal drug conspiracy.
Melissa Rock, 40, of Woodstock, Conn., formerly of Pemaquid, Maine, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release. In May 2018, Rock pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin and cocaine, specifically cocaine. In 2017, Rock and four others, Vito Nuzzolilo, of Worcester; Kristin Little, of Worcester; Thomas Walker, of Pemaquid, Maine; and Ricardo Ortega-Vasquez, a Dominican national residing in New York City, were indicted for their roles in the conspiracy.
According to court documents, a court-authorized wiretap intercepted Rock and Walker speaking with Nuzzolilo about purchasing cocaine for re-distribution in Maine. On April 10, 2017, Rock contacted Nuzzolilo to ask if he would “front” a quantity of cocaine; she then traveled to Nuzzolilo’s apartment in Worcester. On April 27, 2017, Walker spoke with Nuzzolilo about obtaining additional cocaine, promising that his “workers” had cash to cover it. Rock and Walker then traveled to Nuzzolilo’s Worcester apartment, and, after leaving the apartment, were stopped by law enforcement and found in possession of more than 50 grams of cocaine.
Little pleaded guilty to his role in the drug conspiracy and, in June 2018, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Walker and Ortega-Vasquez have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Nuzzolilo has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting further court hearings.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Abely of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the cases.
The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.