Massachusetts man pleads guilty in cocaine trafficking after Operation Snowfall investigation

Crime
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BOSTON (USDOJ) – A Holbrook man pleaded guilty to his role in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.

Andre Echevarria, 41, of Holbrook, 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 Feb. 1, 2022.

Echevarria 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.

Echevarria was identified as a customer for co-defendants and wholesale drug suppliers Winston McGhee and, allegedly, Derek Hart. Over the course of the investigation, McGhee and, allegedly, Hart provided quantities of cocaine to Echevarria for purposes of drug trafficking. In June 2021, McGhee was sentenced by Judge Stearns to 115 months in prison. Hart has not yet been apprehended and remains a fugitive.

Echevarria is the eighth defendant to plead guilty in the case. The 17 remaining defendants are pending trial.

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 a lifetime 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 other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; 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 Mendell’s Organized Crime & Gang Unit are prosecuting the case.

The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-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.

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