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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 21, 2020

Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Distributing Crack Cocaine in Public Housing Development

BOSTON – A man identified as a member of the Heath Street Gang pleaded guilty today to charges of distributing crack cocaine in a public housing development.

Michael Pridgen, 36, pleaded guilty during a videoconference hearing to two counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and fentanyl, and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in a public housing development. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns will schedule sentencing at a later date. Pridgen has been detained since his arrest on Sept. 10, 2019.

Pridgen distributed crack cocaine in and around the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments, formerly known as the Bromley Heath Housing Development, in Boston on June 5, 2019 and July 2, 2019. In the June 5, 2019, incident, Pridgen stored the crack cocaine and a digital scale in an electrical box affixed to the wall in the stairwell of the public housing complex. Both transactions occurred in common stairwells in the complex. At the time of his arrest on Sept. 10, 2019, Pridgen was found on a bench in a courtyard at the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments, in possession of a distributable-quantity of crack cocaine and fentanyl. Although Pridgen has been identified by law enforcement as a member of the Heath Street Gang, he was living in Westborough at the time of these incidents. 

The charge of distributing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of distributing or possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances in a public housing development provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of one year and up to 40 years in prison, a minimum of six years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $2 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross made the announcement today.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated May 21, 2020