When Michael Scott faced arraignment in October on a shooting charge, the alleged Woodward Avenue gang member had much more to fear than the judge that day in Roxbury District Court.
Inside the courthouse, Scott found himself surrounded by members of a rival gang from Wendover Street. Scott’s sister was there and called the leader of her brother’s gang, a man named Jonathan DaSilva who is accused of operating a sprawling drug pipeline, according to documents released this week by federal prosecutors.
“After learning that his associate Mike Scott was in trouble,” the documents recounted, “DaSilva said simply, ‘Say no more.’ ”
Investigators listened on wiretaps as DaSilva allegedly used his cellphone to put in motion the wheels of murder. The episode on Oct. 23 was captured as part of an almost two-year investigation that culminated Thursday with the dawn arrests of 27 suspects on federal narcotic and firearms charges. Documents provided by prosecutors showed the scope of the sophisticated drug pipeline, which sent shipments of crack cocaine from Boston to Maine, and included $100,000-per-month orders of high-potency marijuana driven by the truckload from California through Chicopee to Boston.
Prosecutors allege that two violent gangs, one from Woodward Avenue in Roxbury, the other from Hendry Street in the Bowdoin-Geneva section of Dorchester, formed an alliance and pooled resources to keep narcotics flowing. Investigators learned that the leaders of the two gangs, identified by federal authorities as DaSilva, 29, and Alexis Hidalgo, 31, lived a lavish life, taking one trip to Atlanta during which they stayed at luxury hotels, spent more than $5,000 each to rent sports cars, and purchased a $10,000 table at an awards dinner.
The longer law enforcement listened to the wiretaps, the deeper they penetrated the world inhabited by the gangs. At times, investigators heard violence bubbling and had to act before the gangs drew blood.
“Drug dealers like the ones on Woodward and Hendry streets don’t keep their cocaine in banks and call police when they are robbed,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said this week at a press conference announcing the arrests. “They maintain stash houses in the heart of a residential community, and they take retaliation at the point of a gun.”
That was true on Nov. 12, according to the documents, when Hidalgo ordered his lackey, Victor Scott, to bring him a gun at a Burger King on Dorchester Avenue because he had just been cut off by a Dodge Charger.
By the time Victor Scott arrived with the firearm, the Charger was gone.
But on Oct. 23 at Roxbury District Court, the gang members seemed to be destined for a shooting. After learning one of his compatriots had been surrounded by members of a rival gang, DaSilva called two of his subordinates and told them where they could find “hammers,” slang for guns, stashed on Woodward Avenue, according to the documents.
DaSilva made it clear to one of the potential hit men, Patrick “Pistol” Gomes, that he had “the green light” to pull the trigger when he encountered their rivals from Wendover Street, according to the documents.
Investigators listening to DaSilva’s telephone conversations moved to stop the shooting, according to the documents.
Uniformed police rushed to Roxbury District Court and found Gomes outside immersed in an animated discussion with another member of his gang, according to the documents.
Officers noticed that Gomes adjusted his pants and held his right side as he jogged back to his rental car, two clear indications he had a gun tucked into his waistband, according to the documents.
Gomes, 27, has long been on the police radar. He was sentenced to a 6½-year federal term following a 2007 arrest for selling crack. He was released last May.
As part of his release from federal custody, Gomes had been ordered to stay away from several of the men with whom he is now accused of conspiring to sell drugs, including Hidalgo and DaSilva.
“These are the top echelons of the violence in Boston,” said one law enforcement official.
That day in October outside Roxbury District Court, police surrounded Gomes’s rental car and found a loaded 9mm handgun in the glove box, according to the documents.
Officers also allegedly discovered two medium-sized bags of marijuana, more than $600 in cash, and a purple hooded sweatshirt, the color of the Woodward Avenue gang. They arrested Gomes and the other man, Joshua Brandao, 22, of Dorchester.
As the arrests occurred, investigators listened to the reaction from DaSilva as he spoke on his phone. DaSilva noted in the conversation that Brandao had a scant criminal record and therefore would be ordered to “eat the gun,” which meant he would have to take responsibility for the firearm.
“Unaware, of course, that his calls were being monitored by the police,” the documents stated, “DaSilva assumed that Gomes and Brandao had been set up by his Wendover Street Rivals.”