June 19, 2013

Portland cocaine smuggler to serve 25 years

Monitored phone calls nabbed Hasan Worthy, 36, who ran a New York-to-Portland drug ring.

PORTLAND – A Portland man who was a key figure in a large-scale drug ring that smuggled cocaine, crack and heroin from New York for distribution in Maine was sentenced Wednesday to serve 25 years in federal prison.

Hasan Worthy, 36, was a top dealer on the New York and Maine ends of the drug ring, arranging shipments of drugs that women in the network smuggled inside their bodies on planes and cars from New York. The drugs were distributed in packages to lower-level dealers in the Portland area.

Worthy, also known as "Moto," was found guilty Nov. 7 on four counts: conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, cocaine and heroin, aiding and abetting; two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, aiding and abetting; and one count of using a communication facility in committing drug felonies.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby authorized investigators on July 2, 2010, to intercept phone calls in the case for 60 days, allowing federal agents to hear conversations between Worthy and another high-level dealer, Shareef Nash of Buxton, according to a criminal complaint filed in Worthy's case by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

One call between Worthy and Nash, known as "Slow," detailed a planned drug shipment with Worthy and a woman, later identified as Melissa Plaza of Bronx, N.Y.

Days later, Plaza flew from New York to Portland with Worthy. Law enforcement officers found 65 grams of cocaine on her.

After the arrests of Worthy and Plaza, agents continued the phone taps and stopped a shipment of drugs, by car, from New York to Maine on Aug. 5, 2010. They seized more cocaine from women who were bringing it to Nash for distribution, according to court records.

In all, agents seized 250 grams of cocaine from five female couriers, digital scales, about $6,000 and five handguns.

Worthy was sentenced to serve 10 years of supervised release after his prison term.

Nash was sentenced on Feb. 28 to serve 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Worthy's girlfriend, Nicole Webster-Gersy, 34, of Portland, will be the last person in the ring to be sentenced, on Thursday morning. She pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge on Sept. 2, 2010, and her sentencing has been delayed until now.

In addition to Nash, Worthy, Webster-Gersy and Plaza, 10 people in Maine were charged in the case. All of them have pleaded guilty or been found guilty.

Others convicted are:

Nash's girlfriend, Sasha Phillips; three "retail distributors," Dereck "D" Berryan, Regina "G-Low" Goins, and Veronica "Roni" Brown; a key person on the New York end of the ring, Daneek "Jeep" Miller; a driver, Kevin Stuckey, and his girlfriend, Pedra So-Melony; two other drivers, Sondra Cordero and Noelle Hoey; and a man who rented vehicles to the group in exchange for crack, John "Vito" Palaia.

 

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@pressherald.com

 

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