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Shirley woman sentenced to 18 months in prison for drug trafficking conspiracy

Shirley woman sentenced to 18 months in prison for drug trafficking conspiracy
Shirley woman sentenced to 18 months in prison for drug trafficking conspiracy
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WORCESTER — A Shirley woman was sentenced Monday in federal court for her role in a wide-ranging fentanyl, heroin, crack and cocaine trafficking conspiracy, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Shasaalena Blair, 41, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In January 2021, Blair pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, 400 grams or more of fentanyl, 280 grams or more of cocaine base and 500 grams or more of cocaine.

According to court documents, following a fatal fentanyl overdose in September 2018, law enforcement began an investigation into a drug trafficking organization in the Fitchburg area led by co-conspirators Pedro Baez and his son, Anthony Baez.

Beginning in July 2019, electronic communications between members of the organization and its suppliers revealed that Pedro and Anthony Baez worked with others to distribute a fentanyl and heroin mixture, cocaine and crack cocaine on a regular basis to individuals in the Fitchburg area, including Blair, according to court documents.

Some of these individuals resold all or a portion of those drugs to their own customers, court documents show. In July 2020, Blair was charged in a superseding indictment along with 17 others involved in the conspiracy, including Pedro and Anthony Baez, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Blair, who was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman, is the second defendant to be sentenced in this case. In December 2020, Anthony Baez was sentenced by Hillman to 13 years in prison. Pedro Baez pleaded guilty on Feb. 3, 2021, and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, 2022. Eight other defendants in the case have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI, Boston Division; Commissioner Carol Mici of the Massachusetts Department of Correction; and Col. Christopher Mason, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement.

The case was investigated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The Fitchburg Police Department, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Lunenburg Police Department also provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alathea Porter of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit prosecuted the case.