Fitchburg Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Crack Cocaine
MAR 9 -- Worcester, MA... A Fitchburg man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to federal drug charges.
June W. Stansbury, Special Agent In Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; John J. Conte, Worcester County District Attorney; and Edward F. Cronin, Chief of the Fitchburg Police Department, announced that HERIBERTO PEREZ, a/k/a “Momo,” age 26, formerly of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV to an Indictment charging him with three counts of distribution of cocaine base. Cocaine base is more commonly known as “crack” cocaine.
At yesterday's plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the evidence would have proven that on October 28, 2004, December 7, 2004 and December 21, 2004, PEREZ sold quantities of crack cocaine to a DEA Special Agent acting in an undercover capacity.
Judge Saylor scheduled sentencing for June 21, 2006. PEREZ faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to a maximum of life. PEREZ also faces deportation to the Dominican Republic after serving his prison sentence. PEREZ was arrested on May 27, 2005 in connection with the charges and has remained in custody since that time.
PEREZ was one of several individuals charged in May of 2005 in a series of cases investigated by the DEA's Mobile Enforcement Team ("MET") which had been working in cooperation with the Fitchburg Police Department and the North Worcester Drug Task Force since September, 2004. Their focus was on the distribution of various controlled substances, including cocaine, crack, heroin and ecstasy in Fitchburg and surrounding areas. As a result of their cooperative efforts, a total of forty individuals were charged either in federal or state court (eleven federal and twenty-nine state).
The Mobile Enforcement Team program was created by the DEA in early 1995 to assist local law enforcement in responding to the overwhelming problem of drug-related crime that plagues neighborhoods and communities throughout the United States. The challenges facing law enforcement today are daunting. The increasing sophistication of drug-trafficking organizations make drug law enforcement more difficult than ever before. The MET program helps local law enforcement entities attack drug organizations in their neighborhoods and restores a safer environment for the residents of these communities.
MET Agents assist local law enforcement officers in the following ways:
Local police chiefs, county sheriffs, and state and local prosecutors who feel that there is a need for MET assistance in their jurisdiction can submit a written request to the DEA Special Agent in Charge responsible for their particular area. Upon acceptance of a request, the MET in that jurisdiction sends a pre-deployment assessment team consisting of two to three agents to meet with the requesting official and other cooperating local law enforcement agencies in order to evaluate the problem. Upon approval, the entire MET is deployed to that city to begin investigative activity against the primary drug trafficking individuals and organizations identified in the pre-deployment assessment.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Mobile Enforcement Team, together with the Fitchburg Police Department, the North Worcester County Drug Task Force, and Worcester County District Attorney John J. Conte's Office, with the assistance of the Worcester County Sheriff's Department, and the U.S. Marshal's Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Casey of Sullivan's Worcester Office.