Three Worcester Men Convicted in Crack Cocaine Conspiracy Trial
BOSTON – Following a seven-day trial, three Worcester men were convicted yesterday of distributing crack cocaine in the City of Worcester and surrounding areas.
Sergio Hernandez, 33, James "Speedro" Dunston, 33, and Anthony Wooldridge, 30, were convicted of conspiracy with the intent to distribute over 280 grams of “crack” cocaine. Wooldridge was also convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. A fourth co-defendant, Richard Cruz, aka Compi, 42, of Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty on the second day of trial to conspiring to sell over 500 grams of powder cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Hillman scheduled sentencing for May 14, 2015 for Cruz, May 15, 2015 for Wooldridge, May 22, 2015 for Dunston, and May 26, 2015 for Hernandez. The Massachusetts defendants were arrested in September 2012, and Cruz was simultaneously arrested at his residence in Puerto Rico.
The conspiracy charges arose from a year-long investigation into a crack cocaine network run by Hernandez, Dunston and Wooldridge in Worcester. On numerous occasions, Hernandez, Dunston and Wooldridge bought 200-500 gram amounts of powder cocaine from a number of sources inside and outside of Massachusetts. They then cooked down the cocaine into crack and distributed it in and around Worcester. Evidence presented at trial included an undercover officer’s purchases of crack cocaine from the defendants, approximately 30,000 intercepted phone calls and text messages, and the August 2012 seizure of one half kilogram of powder cocaine that Cruz sent from Puerto Rico to Hernandez in Worcester through the U.S. mail.
In total, fourteen individuals were charged as a result of the joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Worcester Police Department, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Three codefendants -- Shawna Gotsis, Janette Hernandez and Jeneva Hernandez -- previously pleaded guilty to similar federal offenses. The Worcester County District Attorney's Office charged seven other co-conspirators in Massachusetts state court.
The charging statute provides a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and no greater than life in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $8 million. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Michael J. Ferguson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; and Worcester Police Chief Gary J. Gimme, made the announcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cory S. Flashner and Greg A. Friedholm of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office.