A Puerto Rican man pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in Worcester Federal Court on Thursday, December 2.
Rafael Hidalgo Rodriguez, 33, of Ponce, P.R., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base and 500 grams or more of cocaine. The judge set sentencing for March 21.
Federal prosecutors say a fentanyl overdose in September 2018 led to an investigation of trafficking in the Fitchburg area. Pedro Baez and Anthony Baez led the operation in Fitchburg. Anthony Baez received a sentence of 13 years in prison while Pedro Baez’s sentencing is on May 17.
Through court-authorized interceptions of phones used by the organization and its suppliers, agents identified the individuals who supplied Pedro and Anthony Baez with cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.
Rodriguez is the ninth defendant to plead guilty in this case. Seventeen individuals have been indicted in the case.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base and 500 grams or more of cocaine provides for a sentence of up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.