YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — One of nine people charged in a ring bringing cocaine from Puerto Rico to Youngstown has pleaded guilty in federal court.
Brendan Wolford, 26, will be sentenced July 11 after pleading guilty Thursday in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio before U.S. Judge Dan Aaron Polster to charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver cocaine and use of a communications facility in furtherance of a drug crime.
Wolford has been free on $20,000 unsecured bond since a September bond hearing. He was arrested shortly after an indictment was issued June 23 in the case.
The government contends the members of the ring were moving drugs to Youngstown between April 2020 and December 2021, at times mailing back large amounts of cash back to Puerto Rico.
The indictment lists at least three instances of cash totaling over $223,000.
The indictment said that Wolford was receiving cocaine from the leaders of the ring to distribute in Youngstown. The indictment lists several recorded conversations between Wolford and others about cocaine, with Wolford mainly complaining or asking about the quality of the cocaine he was being supplied with.
In a Sept. 21, 2021, recorded conversation Wolford asks for a discount on an ounce of cocaine because he needed it right away to mix with another batch of cocaine that was of poorer quality. He said he could come up with half the roughly $1,000 price that night and could furnish the rest of the money the next day.
The person he was talking to was also named in the indictment and told him he could give him a break on the price for “one time.”
“Just make sure it’s the best quality cocaine,” Wolford was recorded saying.
In an Oct, 7, 2021, recorded conversation in the indictment, Wolford is heard commenting to someone else who was indicted that a recent shipment of cocaine was not as good as a prior shipment.
“I’m not complaining,” he is recorded as saying. “I’m still going to sell it.”
In an Oct. 21, 2021, conversation in the indictment, Wolford is told by another person indicted in the same case that the cocaine he is receiving “serves to fly,” or is good to snort, but is not the best quality if he wants to cook it into crack cocaine.