The finance director for Boston Mayor Michelle Wu (D) has been charged in connection with an alleged prison drug smuggling scheme.
Freda Brasfield, a member of the Democrat mayor’s cabinet, was arraigned in Woburn Superior Court on Friday on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to Boston 25 News.
Brasfield appeared in court with some of her co-defendants — Jaime Liberty and Jayleen Rivera — both of whom have been charged with smuggling synthetic cannabis, otherwise known as “K2” or “spice,” into the Massachusetts prison MCI-Shirley.
The Democrat mayor’s finance director has pleaded not guilty to both charges, and all three of the defendants were released on personal recognizance.
The charges stem from a smuggling operation that dates back to January 2021. The operation reportedly included four incarcerated individuals, one of whom is Brasfield’s nephew — as well as five other individuals outside of the prison, including Brasfield and a former MCI-Shirley inmate, Manuel “Junior” Dasilva.
The former prisoner has been accused by Massachusetts attorneys of working “with the nine co-defendants to get synthetic drugs inside MCI Shirley.”
The state has described the four inmates involved in the smuggling operation as a “coordinated group of individuals who contact co-conspirators to purchase the cannabinoid-laced papers from a single dealer.”
The synthetic marijuana was reportedly a “liquid” drug, which can be sprayed onto a piece of paper, allowing the smugglers to inconspicuously disguise the drugs as written correspondence such as letters or legal documentation.
Boston 25 noted 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.”
The profits from selling just one sheet can reach a shocking $30,000 or more from buyers behind bars.
Dasilva has been accused of selling the product at a bulk priced rate much lower than that estimate, with the cost being roughly $250-$300 per sheet.
Brasfield allegedly used CashApp to finance the sale of the synthetic marijuana being sold inside the prison, the Boston Globe reported.
According to an anonymous source who spoke with Boston 25 News, Brasfield “moved money in increments of $999 to avoid banking mandatory reporting limits of $1,000.”
The Democrat mayor’s finance director has been placed on unpaid administrative leave by the city following her arraignment. Brasfield’s next court appearance is scheduled for early March.
According to a Boston.gov profile, Brasfield’s roles in the mayor’s office are described as being the Chair for the Black Employee Network in addition to her position as the mayor’s Administration and Finance Director.