Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
BOSTON – A Springfield man pleaded guilty on Feb. 16, 2022, in federal court in Worcester to drug and firearm offenses.
Lavon Pemberton, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of firearm and ammunition and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for June 9, 2022. Pemberton was charged by criminal complaint in June 2020 and later indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2020.
On May 14, 2020, Pemberton was observed driving approximately 100 miles per hour on the Massachusetts Turnpike. During a subsequent traffic stop, law enforcement smelled an overwhelming odor of marijuana in the vehicle and marijuana paraphernalia was visible in the passenger compartment as well as the glove box. Pemberton was also found in possession of .8 grams of cocaine and .15 grams of methamphetamine contained in three individually wrapped baggies. When law enforcement approached Pemberton to arrest him, Pemberton ran and tried to climb over a guardrail at a nearby overpass but was immediately apprehended. A search of Pemberton’s vehicle resulted in the recovery of a loaded Ruger SR9 firearm containing 17 rounds of ammunition – eight 9MM hollow point rounds and eight 9MM full metal jacket rounds with one in the firing chamber – as well as 120 grams of marijuana and $5,720 in cash. At the time of the stop, Pemberton was on supervised release due to a previous federal firearms conviction.
The charge of being a felon in possession of firearm and ammunition provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of possession with intent to distribute marijuana provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, at least two 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 other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; and Colonel Christopher Mason of Massachusetts State Police made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Noto of Rollins’s Worcester office is prosecuting the case.