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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Massachusetts
Joshua S. Levy, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Boston Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking in and Around Public Housing Development

BOSTON – A man identified as a member/associate of the Heath Street Gang pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to possession with intent to distribute cocaine in a public housing development.

Michael Van Rader, 26, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public housing facility.  U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for June 27, 2024. Van Rader was indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2023.

On or about Sept. 3, 2023, Van Rader was arrested on the grounds of the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments, a public housing complex in Jamaica Plain, in possession of a distribution quantity of cocaine. At the time of his arrest, Van Rader was barred by the Boston Housing Authority from trespassing at the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments. 

The charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public housing facility provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of one year and no greater than 40 years in prison, a minimum of six years and up to life of supervised release, and a fine of up to $2 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Feld Division; and Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox made the announcement. The investigation was supported by the Boston Housing Authority Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Hoefle of the Organized Crime & Gang Unit is prosecuting the case. 

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

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