BANGOR, Maine — A New York man pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to a crack cocaine conspiracy charge less than a week before his trial was to have begun.
Jowenky “Bullet” Nunez, 30, of New York City, N.Y., admitted that he was part of the crack cocaine ring that operated between September 2010 and November 2012 in Bangor. The operation first worked out of a Kenduskeag Avenue residence before moving to a pair of Ohio Street apartments that were raided by Bangor police and other law enforcement agencies on Nov. 3, 2011.
By pleading guilty, Nunez admitted that he was one of the people who brought crack cocaine to Bangor from New York City on commercial buses, according to court documents. Nunez also admitted that he supervised others in the distribution scheme, sometimes delivered crack cocaine to distributors, arranged sales and deposited money generated by drug sales into the bank accounts of his superiors.
He was arrested Feb. 2 in New York City on one count each of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime. Nunez pleaded not guilty to both charges on March 5 in federal court in Bangor and was ordered to be held without bail. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. The gun charge most likely will dropped when he is sentenced. A sentencing date has not been set.
Nunez was one of more than a dozen people arrested Nov. 3 after agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Bangor police raided adjoining apartments at 100 and 102 Ohio St. in Bangor. The investigation, which has been linked to a Dominican drug-trafficking operation based in New York City, has led to the indictment of 13 people by a federal grand jury, including Nunez, according to court documents.
Nunez, who was born in the Dominican Republic but is a permanent legal resident of the U.S., was scheduled to be tried next week with three other people accused of being part of the crack cocaine distribution ring. His former co-defendant, Pauline Rossignol, 53, of Brewer, is scheduled Wednesday to plead guilty to the same drug conspiracy charge to which Nunez pleaded guilty. Rossignol was released on bail in November 2011 but it was revoked last year after she tested positive for drug use and failed to comply with other bail conditions, according to court documents.
Both could be called as witnesses by federal prosecutors at the trial of alleged ringleader Manuel “Fish” Trinidad-Acosta, 28, of New York City and Edward Cogswell, 47, of Bangor. Their trial is scheduled to begin Thursday in federal court in Bangor following jury selection.
Both men are charged with the same conspiracy charge to which Nunez pleaded guilty. Trinidad-Acosta also is charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime.
Trinidad-Acosta has been held without bail since his arrest Feb. 2 in New York City. Cogswell remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail.
If convicted, both men face a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. They also could be ordered to pay a $5 million fine.
Nunez and Rossignol face the same penalties but most likely will serve lesser sentences than Trinidad-Acosta and Cogswell will if convicted, because of their willingness to enter guilty pleas.
The following people were indicted along with Nunez, Trinidad-Acosta, Cogswell and Rossignol on Nov. 17, 2011, by a federal grand jury in Bangor on the drug conspiracy charge:
• Dawlin “Boss Man” Cabrera, also known as Rolando Andujar, 30, of New York City.
• Abraham Lluberas, 22, of New York City.
• Jacob “Pinky” Garcia, 22, of New York City.
• Kelvin Mally, 18, of New York City.
All have pleaded guilty but Mally, who has not been arrested.
The following were indicted separately in January 2012 by a federal grand jury in Bangor in connection with the operation.
• Christopher Mullins, 44, of Bangor.
• Kizzy Fader, 34, of Bangor.
• Jennifer Holmes, 28, of Bangor.
• Robert “Ranger” L. Jordan II, age unknown, of Eddington.
Holmes has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Fader and Mullins were convicted last year in separate jury trials. Jordan is scheduled to go on trial next month.