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Career offender sentenced to prison for trafficking drugs for inmate

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PROVIDENCE – One of two men charged with delivering crack cocaine at the direction of an ACI inmate who ran a drug trafficking conspiracy from inside the state prison was sentenced today to five years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Kelly D. Brady.

Gerald Price, 34, previously admitted to the court that, at the direction of ACI inmate James Gomes, 30, he delivered crack cocaine to a customer of Gomes who was not incarcerated. The drug deal was established during a telephone conference call between Gomes and Price, allegedly coordinated by Gomes’ mother, Lisa Ellis, 51, of Pawtucket.

According to information presented to the court, on June 22, 2018, Gomes telephoned his mother, who then allegedly conferenced Price into the call. During the 3-way conference call, Gomes advised Price that he had a buyer who wanted to buy crack cocaine. Price agreed to deliver the drugs on Gomes’ behalf and, at Gomes’ direction, provide the proceeds from the sale to Gomes’ mother.

Later that day, Price arranged with the buyer, an undercover officer, to meet at a location in Providence on June 26. The two men met as planned. Price provided the individual with more than 30 grams of crack cocaine in exchange for $1,920. Some of the proceeds from the sale of the drugs were allegedly provided to Ellis, who, after allegedly taking her share, deposited the remainder of the money in Gomes’ prison account.

Subsequently, Gomes asked Price to sell the same buyer a gun, and Price, after initially agreeing to make the sale, ultimately objected because he suspected that the buyer was an undercover police officer.

Price, previously convicted and incarcerated on several occasions on drug and firearm charges, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on November 8, 2019, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, and distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base.

At sentencing today, U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., sentenced PRICE to 60 months in federal prison to be followed by four years’ supervised release.

Gomes, who pleaded guilty in federal court on October 15, 2019, to one count each of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base, and to three counts of distribution of cocaine base, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19, 2020.

A second individual who admitted to delivering crack cocaine to customers of Gomes at Gomes’ request, Joshua Moore, 29, formerly of Pawtucket, was sentenced on November 21, 2019, to 60 months in federal prison to be followed by four years’ supervised release. Moore pleaded guilty on September 4, 2019, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, and to four counts of distribution of cocaine base.

Lisa Ellis, charged by way of indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, and four counts of distribution of cocaine base, is awaiting trial in U.S. District Court.

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