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Press Release

Leader of Brighton Drug Trafficking Organization Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – The leader of a Boston-area drug trafficking organization (DTO) has pleaded guilty to his role in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.

Matthew Drayton, 45, of Boston, pleaded guilty on Aug. 10, 2022 to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for Dec. 14, 2022. 

Drayton was charged with 23 others in June 2020 as part of Operation Snowfall, which  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 for which Drayton was both a leader and 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 they stored, cooked, packaged and sold drugs – most of which was 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 for 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.

Court documents allege that Drayton was the leader of the Fidelis-Way related DTO whose members were responsible for the packaging, selling, storing and distribution of drugs to, or collection of proceeds from, drug customers, drug runners or other drug distributors and suppliers. It is estimated that Drayton distributed between 280 and 840 grams of cocaine base during the course of his participation in the Fidelis Way DTO. Drayton also participated in a number of controlled buys involving cocaine base during the investigation. Additionally, Drayton used violence or threats of violence to maintain control within the DTO, including at times directing such force against the DTO’s drug runners.

Drayton is the sixth defendant to plead guilty in the Fidelis-Way related drug 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. 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 Commissioner Michael Cox 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

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.

Updated August 16, 2022

Drug Trafficking