BOSTON – A Shirley woman was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Worcester for her role in a wide-ranging fentanyl, heroin, crack and cocaine trafficking conspiracy.
Shasaalena Blair, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In January 2021, Blair pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, 400 grams or more of fentanyl, 280 grams or more of cocaine base and 500 grams or more of cocaine.
According to court documents, following a fatal fentanyl overdose in September 2018, law enforcement began an investigation into a drug trafficking organization (DTO) in the Fitchburg area led by co-conspirators Pedro Baez and his son, Anthony Baez. Beginning in July 2019, electronic communications between members of the DTO and its suppliers revealed that Pedro and Anthony Baez worked with others to distribute a fentanyl and heroin mixture, cocaine and crack cocaine on a regular basis to individuals in the Fitchburg area, including Blair. Some of these individuals resold all or a portion of those drugs to their own customers. In July 2020, Blair was charged in a superseding indictment along with 17 others involved in the conspiracy, including Pedro and Anthony Baez.
Blair is the second defendant to be sentenced in this case. In December 2020, Anthony Baez was sentenced by Judge Hillman to 13 years in prison. Pedro Baez pleaded guilty on Feb. 3, 2021 and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, 2022. Eight other defendants in the case have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction; and Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement. The case was investigated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The Fitchburg Police Department, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Lunenburg Police Department also provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alathea Porter of Rollins’ Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.
The operation was conducted is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.