BOSTON (WWLP) – In connection with a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, a drug trafficker operating in the Boston area was sentenced Wednesday.
Maurice Coates, 46, of Randolph, was sentenced to eight years in prison and four years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns. According to a news release from the Department of Justice, he pleaded guilty on April 18, 2023, to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
As part of Operation Snowfall, Coates was charged along with 23 others in June 2020. In accordance with the charging documents, police began investigating 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, beginning in November 2018. Through their drug trafficking activities, the defendants are alleged to have controlled multiple apartments where they stored, cooked, packaged and sold drugs. Due to their activities, the development was blighted and the quality of life of other residents was adversely affected.
As part of the investigation, large-scale drug suppliers and their associates were also targeted. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, the targets are alleged to have continued to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. In that case, Coates is the 16th defendant to plead guilty.
In the course of the drug conspiracy, Coates was identified as a significant drug supplier and distributor, during which he distributed over 500 grams of cocaine. During intercepted calls with his co-defendant Kenji Drayton, Coates used drug-coded language to discuss drug supply needs and to coordinate a drug deal meeting. During the pandemic, Coates served as one of Drayton’s main cocaine suppliers. Coates and Drayton’s coded communications were sometimes corroborated by surveillance, including a surveillance-enhanced meeting between the two for a suspected drug deal. As a result of their suspected deal, law enforcement intercepted communications between co-defendants Drayton and Jarmina Kallon. In the aftermath of their meeting, law enforcement stopped Kallon and recovered approximately 62 grams of cocaine.
The remaining defendant in the case has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. A second defendant, Derek Hart, remains at large. Drayton was sentenced to five years in prison and four years of supervised release on September 28, 2022.