BOSTON (WWLP) – A Malden man was sentenced to prison for drug and firearms conspiracy involving a machine gun.

According to the Justice Department in Boston, 22-year-old Phillips Charles, a/k/a “PHON C,” was sentenced to 78 months in prison and four years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana and other controlled substances and conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Charles was on pretrial release for an October 2019 arrest involving crack cocaine, he continued to conspire with others involved in the conspiracy to distribute large quantities of controlled substances. A publicly posted music video showed Charles with numerous firearms, including a firearm with an attached “selector switch,” one of which he was shown handling and pointing at the camera. “Selector switches” convert firearms into machine guns.

While still on pretrial release, in October 2020, Charles fired at least seven rounds into a vehicle of a rival gang member and their family at the Square One Mall in Saugus. He remained on pretrial release until arrested and charged in state court with possessing a firearm in December 2020.

“Mr. Charles repeatedly and flagrantly violated the conditions of his state pretrial release. Not only did he continue to traffic deadly narcotics on our streets, but he also recklessly wielded deadly firearms – seriously endangering the safety of our communities,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “This case demonstrates this office’s commitment to utilize all resources necessary in our fight against drug trafficking and violent crime in the Commonwealth.”

“This first-time federal felon profited from the misery of others who were addicted to the poison he peddled,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “Today’s sentence protects the public from Phillips Charles’ escalating criminal behavior, and his proclivity towards drug dealing, firearms, and violence.”

“This case is the product of a collaborative effort on the part of ATF and its local and federal partners to target, investigate, and eliminate the perpetrators of violent crime,” said James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “This sentence sends a clear and direct message that we take the illegal possession of firearms and narcotics very seriously and will not be tolerated in our communities.”