Inmate Sentenced for Running Crack Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy from Prison | USAO-RI


PROVIDENCE, RI – An Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) inmate who admitted to running a drug trafficking conspiracy from inside the prison that delivered crack cocaine to individuals outside of the prison was sentenced today to more than six years in federal prison.

James Gomes, 33, formerly of Pawtucket, previously admitted to the Court that he executed a scheme where fellow inmates provided him with prospective crack cocaine buyers outside of prison and their contact information. Gomes often passed the information through his mother, Lisa Ellis, 51, of Pawtucket, to two individuals, Joshua Moore, 19, formerly of Pawtucket, and Gerald Price, 34, of Cranston, who delivered the drugs to Gomes’ customers.

An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Rhode Island Task Force determined that, using his prison call account and the accounts of others, Gomes frequently called his mother directing her to establish conference calls with Moore and Price. During the conference calls, Gomes directed Ellis, Moore and/or Price to sell crack cocaine to others. According to information presented to the court, Ellis allegedly kept a small portion of the proceeds from the sales for herself and deposited the rest of the money into Gomes’ ACI prison account. 

Gomes pleaded guilty on October 15, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, one count of distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base, and three counts of distribution of cocaine base.

At sentencing today, U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., sentenced Gomes to 77 months in federal prison, to be served concurrently with his present term of incarceration at the ACI, to be followed by 4 years of federal supervised release, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Kelly D. Brady.

Joshua Moore pleaded guilty on September 4, 2019, to conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and three counts of distribution of cocaine base. He was sentenced on November 21, 2019, to 60 months in federal prison to be followed by 4 years of supervised release.

Gerald Price pleaded guilty on November 8, 2019, to conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, distribution of 28 grams or more of cocaine base, and three counts of distribution of cocaine base. He was sentenced on February 24, 2020, to 60 months incarceration to be followed by 4 years of supervised release.

Lisa Ellis is awaiting trial in federal court on charges of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base and four counts of distribution of cocaine base.

An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.

The ATF Rhode Island Task Force is comprised of agents and officers from ATF, Providence Police Department, Pawtucket Police Department, Cranston Police Department, Rhode Island State Police, and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.

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