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Press Release

Maine Woman Pleads Guilty to Participating in North Shore Drug Conspiracy

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

BOSTON – A Maine woman pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute, controlled substances.

Shelby Kleffman, 36, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, cocaine base, and other controlled substances. U.S. Chief District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 5, 2022. Kleffman was charged on March 26, 2021.

Kleffman admitted to her role in a drug trafficking conspiracy between Massachusetts and Maine. Kleffman operated as a Maine-based dealer who received large quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, cocaine base and methamphetamine from Massachusetts-based gang members, which she would then distribute locally to customers in Maine.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine; the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency; the Essex County and Hancock County Sheriff’s Departments; and the Lynn, Salem, Malden, Bangor (Maine), Portland (Maine) and Westbrook (Maine) Police Departments. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip A. Mallard and Sarah Hoefle of Mendell’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit are prosecuting the case.

The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here:

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 26, 2021

Drug Trafficking