BANGOR, Maine — Two Belfast brothers admitted Monday to being part of a cocaine distribution ring in Waldo County.
Christopher Hurley, 29, and Matthew Hurley, 26, pleaded guilty in back-to-back hearings in U.S. District Court to one count each of conspiracy with the intent to distribute and distribution of 500 grams — more than a pound — of cocaine between Jan. 1, 2005, and March 20, 2009.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ordered that the men be held without bail pending their sentencings. Both had been free on bail since late last year.
Sentencing dates have not been set.
The Hurleys face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison because of the amount of cocaine attributed to the conspiracy and a maximum sentence of 40 years. In addition to prison time, the brothers could be fined up to $2 million each.
In plea agreements with federal prosecutors, both men waived their rights to appeal their sentences if they are not behind bars for more than five years.
At least nine other people have been charged or sentenced in the conspiracy, according to court documents.
The Hurley brothers were indicted by a federal grand jury in September along with Phillip Kelley, 34, and Shawn Perito, 33, both of Belfast. Christopher Hurley and Matthew Hurley were arrested in November in New York City and Los Angeles, respectively, according to court documents.
Kelley is scheduled to plead guilty to the same conspiracy charge on July 22. Perito was sentenced in March to 10 years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge.
Carlos Zamora, an illegal alien living in New York City, supplied large amounts of
cocaine that were distributed by Bronx, N.Y., resident Ralphy Dominguez to dealers in
Waldo County, including Christopher and Matthew Hurley, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release issued Monday. The cocaine then was redistributed by street-level dealers.
In September, Woodcock sentenced Zamora to 14 years and four months in federal prison. He is expected to be deported to Mexico after completing his sentence. Dominguez, 24, was sentenced to five years behind bars.
Woodcock in July sentenced co-conspirator Jeffrey Emerson, 33, of Swanville to nine years in prison. In May, co-conspirator Richard Calligan, 33, of Searsmont was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison.
Three other Waldo County men have been sentenced in the case. Michael Dunn, 42, of Lincolnville was sentenced in January to three years and one month in prison, and Rodney Littlefield, 37, of Belfast was sentenced in April to two years and six months, both for distribution of cocaine. Nathan Dodd, 25, of Belmont was sentenced in October to 18 months in prison.
The year-long investigation was conducted by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency’s
Mid-Coast Task Force, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Investigative assistance also was provided by the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.