BANGOR, Maine — A federal jury Thursday found a New York City man guilty of drug charges connected with a drug distribution ring that operated out of adjoining Ohio Street apartments in 2010 and 2011 but not guilty on a related gun charge after deliberating for about 90 minutes.
Kelvin Mally, 21, of New York City, who was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine and possession of a firearm in connection with drug trafficking, hung his head when the guilty verdict was read but appeared relieved when the not guilty verdict was announced.
After the jury of eight men and four women were dismissed, Mally, dressed in a dark gray sports jacket, light gray slacks, dress shirt and tie, hugged his attorney, David Bate of Bangor.
“I’m good, man,” Mally told his attorney before being placed in handcuffs and escorted from the courtroom by U.S. marshals.
If Mally had been convicted on both counts, he would have faced a mandatory minimum of 10 years — five years on each count to be served consecutively — in federal prison. Now, he faces between five and 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million on the drug count.
A sentencing date has not been set.
“This is good news for my client, although not the best news,” Bate said after jurors were dismissed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Feith, based in Concord, New Hampshire, who prosecuted the case, declined to comment after the verdict was announced. The reasons the Maine U.S. attorney’s office is not handling the case have not been made public.
The trial began Monday afternoon with opening statements. The prosecution and defense rested mid-morning Thursday. Bate did not call any witnesses.
Abraham Lluberes, 23, of New York City, identified Mally on Thursday morning as a member of the conspiracy. Lluberes, through an interpreter, said that the day after the Nov. 3, 2011, police raid at the apartments at 100-102 Ohio St. in Bangor, he and Mally went back there to retrieve a gun and crack cocaine after they had been released from the Penobscot County Jail.
Lluberes on Monday said, through his attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, that he would not take the stand because he and his family had been threatened. Apparently, Lluberes changed his mind about testifying but his reasons were not made public Thursday.
On Monday, though, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock found Lluberes in contempt of court. Feith told the judge that if Lluberes continued to ignore the conditions of his plea agreement, which included his testimony, he could face additional charges and more prison time, if convicted.
Under cross-examination on Thursday, Lluberes said he hoped the five-year sentence he is serving would be reduced because he testified against Mally. Lluberes, who was in the country illegally when he was arrested, also said he expected to be deported to his native Dominican Republic once he is released. Mally is a U.S. citizen, according to court documents.
Two women convicted in the case, Pari Profitt, 24, and Jennifer Holmes, 29, both of Bangor, testified against Mally. Profitt is serving a three-year sentence in federal prison on the drug conspiracy charge. She lived at one of the Ohio Street apartments and told jurors about how the drug distribution ring worked,
Holmes served a year-long sentence for falsifying applications to buy guns for members of the conspiracy. She told jurors that she bought one gun for Mally.
Mally was indicted by a federal grand jury on a drug conspiracy charge Nov. 17, 2011, and the gun charge on Jan. 15, 2012, but was not arrested until Aug. 16, 2013, in New York City.
He was freed on $5,000 unsecured bail in September. He was ordered to live under house arrest with relatives in New York City but violated his bail conditions, according to court documents. Mally has been held without bail in Maine since January, when his bail was revoked.
Woodcock ordered Thursday that Mally continue to be held without bail while awaiting sentencing. That time is expected to count toward his sentence.