2 change pleas in Greenfield cocaine trafficking case

  • Jason Nadeau, right, is led into Franklin County Superior Court on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Jason Nadeau, right, stands with his lawyer, Daniel Kelly, in Franklin County Superior Court on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • David Gallegos, right, stands with his lawyer, Mark Bluver, in Franklin County Superior Court on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/8/2023 5:50:47 PM

GREENFIELD — Two men connected to a cocaine trafficking syndicate that partially operated out of a Greenfield barbershop changed their pleas in Franklin County Superior Court on Thursday.

David Gallegos, 30, of Deerfield, admitted the prosecution has sufficient facts to prove his guilt regarding his single count of conspiracy to violate drug law, while Jason Nadeau, 42, of Ludlow, pleaded guilty to two amended counts of trafficking in cocaine, 36 to 100 grams, and one count of conspiracy to violate drug law.

Gallegos’ case will be continued without a finding for a year and he will be on administrative probation during that time. Nadeau, however, was sentenced to six to nine years for each of his charges. His state prison terms will be served simultaneously.

The sentences were reached through an agreement between Assistant District Attorney Joseph Webber, who prosecuted these cases for the state, and the defendants’ respective attorneys.

Gallegos and Nadeau were among several people arrested in December 2021 after a seven-month investigation into a cocaine trafficking ring that was operating partially out of the now-closed barbershop owned by Daniel G. Rice Jr. of Hatfield. The investigation involved at least a dozen law enforcement agencies.

Webber explained to Judge David Hodge that if Gallegos’ case went to trial, he believes he could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gallegos conspired with Rice to violate drug law. Webber said “a large bulk of our case” centered on the wiretapping of a phone call between Gallegos and Rice. Gallegos was represented by defense attorney Mark Bluver.

During Nadeau’s court session on Thursday, Webber said he could prove at trial that Nadeau would regularly supply Rice with cocaine to distribute when Rice was low on product. Webber said that when Nadeau was arrested, authorities found him to have 3 kilograms of cocaine, valued at between $268,000 and $295,000, and $20,000 in cash at his Ludlow residence.

His attorney, Daniel Kelly, told the judge his client agreed to the plea deal because going to trial would be “high risk, high reward.” Kelly said Nadeau had a newborn when he was arrested and he has been incarcerated since that day. Accepting this plea agreement, Kelly explained, means his client will be released from the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster while his child is still young.

Daniel Rice and his brother Brandon M. Rice, of West Springfield, pleaded guilty in April to various charges for their involvement. The brothers were sentenced to five to eight years in prison, with 110 days of credit for time served after they were arrested and before they posted bail. Those sentences will begin June 20.

Nine other defendants were sentenced earlier this year, while charges against another four were dropped, according to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. A final case involving Heather Symanski, of Greenfield, who faces charges of cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to violate drug law, has yet to be resolved.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.


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