Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s finance director was arraigned by a judge Friday facing charges connected to an alleged prison drug smuggling scheme.
The Democratic Massachusetts Mayor Wu’s cabinet-member, Freda Brasfield, faced arraignment at Woburn Superior Court on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, Boston 25 News reported. Brasfield appeared alongside a couple of the collection of co-defendants, Jaime Liberty and Jayleen Rivera, both of whom faced charges of smuggling synthetic cannabis, better known as “K2” or “spice,” into the Massachusetts prison MCI-Shirley.
BREAKING: Top Boston Finance Director Freda Brasfield indicted, charged w/money laundering in alleged scheme to get synthetic drugs into state prison system. We were only media at Superior Court. My exclusive story @Boston 25, 5 PM. pic.twitter.com/6Isqidq60q
— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) February 10, 2023
Brasfield plead not guilty to both charges. All three of the defendants were released on personal recognizance.
The prosecutors alleged that the faux marijuana smuggling operation dates back to January 2021. The parties involved allegedly include 4 incarcerated individuals, one of whom is Brasfield’s nephew, as well as 5 others, including the Boston Mayor’s finance director, who were not locked up. (RELATED: Satanic Temple Announces 2023 Conference In Boston. Masks Are Required)
This latter group also included Manuel “Junior” Dasilva, a former MCI Shirley inmate – whom the Commonwealth attorneys alleged “worked with the nine co-defendants to get synthetic drugs inside MCI Shirley,” according to the outlet.
Collectively, the state characterized the 4 incarcerated co-defendants as a “coordinated group of individuals who contact co-conspirators to purchase the cannabinoid-laced papers from a single dealer.”
The synthetic pot was described as a “liquid” drug that can be sprayed onto a piece of paper – making it inconspicuously veiled as written correspondence like letters or legal documentation.
Boston 25 reported that “the drugs are sprayed onto 8″ x 11″ sheets, which are cut down into one-inch squares and sold in prison for $400 each.” But one sheet can rake in over $30,000 from buyers behind bars.
Dasilva is accused of peddling the product at a much lower, bulk-priced rate of somewhere between $250-$300 per sheet. (RELATED: Massachusetts Voters Affirm Measure Allowing Undocumented Immigrants To Get Driver’s Licenses)
As for the Mayor’s finance director, Brasfield is accused of using Cash App in order to finance the sale of the spice said to be sold at MCI-Shirley, according to the Boston Globe.
An anonymous source told Boston 25 that the Boston finance official “moved money in increments of $999 to avoid banking mandatory reporting limits of $1,000.”
“A source tells Boston 25 News Fred Brasfield moved money in increments of $999 to avoid banking mandatory reporting limits of $1,000.00.
Freda Brasfield serves as @wutrain’s Administration and Finance Director, earning a salary of more than $120,000 dollars.” #bospoli #mapoli https://t.co/AihO6tzSbL
— Paul Diego Craney (@pauldiegocraney) February 11, 2023
Following the Friday arraignment, Brasfield was placed on unpaid administrative leave by the city. Her next court appearance is scheduled in early March.
A Boston Mayor’s Office official, Brasfield’s roles are listed on a Boston.gov profile as being the Chair for the Black Employee Network in addition to her capacity as Mayor Wu’s Administration and Finance Director.