A man identified as a member of the Heath Street Gang was arrested yesterday and charged in federal court in Boston with distributing crack cocaine in a public housing development.
Michael Pridgen, 35, was charged with distribution and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and distribution and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances in a public housing development. Pridgen was detained following an initial appearance yesterday in federal court.
According to court documents, Pridgen distributed crack cocaine in and around the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments, formerly known as the Bromley Heath Housing Development, in Boston on June 5, 2019, and July 2, 2019. During the June 5 sale, Pridgen allegedly stored the crack cocaine and a digital scale in an electrical box affixed to the wall in the stairwell of the public housing complex. Both drug sales occurred in common stairwells in the complex. Pridgen has been identified by law enforcement as a member of the Heath Street Gang, but was living in Westborough at the time of these sales.
The charge of distributing or possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of distributing or possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances in a public housing development provides for a mandatory minimum of one year and up and to 40 years in prison, six years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $2 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross made the announcement today.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.