Member of Brockton Drug Crew Pleads Guilty to Fentanyl Distribution and Firearm Charges
BOSTON – A member of a violent Brockton drug crew pleaded guilty yesterday to fentanyl distribution and firearm charges in federal court in Boston.
Placido Pereira, 36, of Brockton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl; three counts of distribution of fentanyl; one count of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana; one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition; and one count of possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking offense. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for April 5, 2023. Pereira was indicted along with three co-conspirators in November 2019.
“Mr. Pereira has had many previous encounters with the criminal legal system, yet continues to engage in illegal activity. Most recently, he distributed fentanyl – a deadly synthetic opioid up to 50 times stronger than heroine and up to 100 times stronger than morphine – into the Brockton community and surrounding neighborhoods. Although his criminal record strictly forbids him from doing so, Mr. Pereira also possessed a firearm to further his drug trafficking activities. Now, he is a federally convicted felon,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “We will continue to target all necessary federal resources into combatting the flow of opioids and narcotics into our state and making sure those with a substance use disorder get the treatment they need.”
“Pereira and his co-conspirators ran a drug trafficking enterprise that distributed deadly fentanyl in communities across southern Massachusetts, continuing the insidious expanse of the opioid crisis in our neighborhoods. Pereira’s record already shows multiple convictions related to his involvement in drug trafficking and today he adds several more. HSI is proud to work closely with our partners across the state to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations and keep drugs off our streets,” said Matthew Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in New England.
Law enforcement began investigating a violent Brockton-area drug crew that distributed large quantities of fentanyl throughout southeastern Massachusetts. The drug crew ran a fentanyl delivery service that encompassed all of Brockton as well as neighboring cities. Specifically, drug users/customers placed orders for fentanyl by contacting a cellphone maintained and shared by crew members, which included Pereira, Djoy Defrancesco, Jason Miranda and, allegedly, his brother Natalio Miranda, who worked together to deliver the fentanyl order. In September and October 2019, an undercover law enforcement officer made six purchases of fentanyl from members of the crew.
A search of Pereria’s Brockton home in October 2019 resulted in the seizure of a loaded firearm with an obliterated serial number, over $5,000 in cash, digital scales, marijuana packaged for sale and the cell phone used by members of the crew to distribute fentanyl.
According to court records, in 2017, Pereira was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to three years in prison. In 2010, Pereira was arrested on drug trafficking charges at Logan Airport as he returned to the United States from Cape Verde and was later sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.
On Sept. 14, 2022, Jason Miranda pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 18, 2023. Defrancesco was sentenced in June 2021 after previously pleading guilty.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and distribution of fentanyl provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of possession with intent to distribute marijuana provides for a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years, supervised release for at least 2 years, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to life in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
U.S. Attorney Rollins; HSI SAC Millhollin; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Brockton Police Chief Brenda Perez; Brian Kyes, U.S. Marshal for the District of Massachusetts; and Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz made the announcement. Assistance was provided by the East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Whitman and Bridgewater State University Police Departments as well as the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Pohl of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.