Boston Man Pleads Guilty To Trafficking Wholesale Quantities Of Cocaine
BOSTON – A Boston man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to trafficking cocaine as part of a larger drug trafficking conspiracy.
Russell Hankerson, 40 of Boston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Aug. 16, 2022.
Hankerson was charged along with 24 others as part of Operation Snowfall. According to the charging documents, beginning in November 2018, law enforcement investigated drug trafficking activities by Boston-based street gang members and associates in the Commonwealth Development in Brighton, formerly known as Fidelis Way, a multi-apartment public housing development. It is alleged that the defendants, through their drug trafficking activities, assumed control over multiple apartments, where they stored, cooked, packaged and sold drugs. As a result, their activities caused a blight of the development and reduced the quality of life of the other residents. The investigation also targeted large-scale drug suppliers and their associates. It is alleged that the targets continued to distribute cocaine and cocaine base throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown.
Hankerson was identified as a drug customer and distributor who purchased wholesale quantities of cocaine for subsequent distribution from co-defendant Hassan Monroe. Surveillance and intercepted communications revealed Hankerson coordinated drug deals with Monroe and engaged in drug trafficking activity.
Hankerson is the 10th defendant to plead guilty in the case. Monroe pleaded guilty and is scheduled for sentencing on June 22, 2022. The remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty and are pending trial. One defendant, Derek Hart, remains at large.
The Charge of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute cocaine provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. 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.
First Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; Douglas Bartlett, Acting U.S. Marshal for the District of Massachusetts; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Boston Police Acting Commissioner Gregory Long made the announcement. Assistance with the investigation was provided by the Braintree, Cambridge, Canton, Randolph and Weymouth Police Departments; the Suffolk, Norfolk and Bristol County District Attorneys’ Offices; and the Suffolk, Plymouth and Norfolk County Sheriffs’ Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kaitlin R. O’Donnell and Timothy E. Moran of the Organized Crime & Gang Unit are prosecuting the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.