News Release
January 17, 2006

Two Men Plead Guilty to Drug-Dealing in South End

Boston, MA... Two Massachusetts men have pleaded guilty in federal court to drug conspiracy and distribution charges. Both men were scheduled to begin trial today on the charges.

June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, announced today that PHILIP “SONNY” BAIONA, age 82, of Walpole, Massachusetts, and RICHARD “RICKY” FREEDMAN, age 43, of South Boston, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr. to conspiring to distribute cocaine between April and June, 2002, and to distributing cocaine on three dates during that time period. BAIONA also pleaded guilty to distributing oxycodone on three dates during March and April, 2002.

At today’s plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that, had the case proceeded to trial, the evidence would have proven that on March 6, April 5, and April 16, 2002, BAIONA met with a cooperating witness working for the DEA inside a building at Shawmut Avenue and Hanson Street in the South End of Boston. On each of those dates, BAIONA sold oxycodone tablets to the cooperating witness, for which BAIONA was paid with DEA funds. In addition, the Government would have proven that on April 24, May 15, and June 12, 2002, BAIONA met with the cooperating witness to sell him cocaine. On each of those dates, while the witness and BAIONA met inside the building, FREEDMAN dropped off a bundle of cocaine for the cooperating witness. BAIONA then directed the cooperating witness to the cocaine. On April 24 and May 15, FREEDMAN tossed the cocaine into the back seat of the cooperating witness’ car, which was parked on Shawmut Avenue; on June 12, FREEDMAN hid the cocaine in a recycling bin around the corner on Hanson Street.

Judge O’Toole scheduled sentencing for BAIONA for February 28, 2006, and sentencing for FREEDMAN for April 18, 2006. BAIONA and FREEDMAN each face a minimum-mandatory term of 5 years’ imprisonment up to a maximum of 40 years, to be followed by no less than 4 years of supervised release, and a $2 million maximum fine.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.