Owens Brown, 34, former leader of the Academy Homes gang, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison last week after pleading guilty to cocaine distribution between 2007 and 2011 - some of the sales arranged through phone calls from the Suffolk County jail, where he spent a month after an arrest for driving with a suspended license.
The period covers the time during which federal and Boston Police investigators say they had Brown - who has a tattoo showing an X'ed out rat with the words "I will never tell" above it - under surveillance and watched or listened as he distributed a total of 2.8 kilograms of cocaine.
According to a sentencing recommendation by the US Attorney's office, the authorities' first attempt to have an informant buy drugs didn't end well - the man showed up with money but was instead robbed at gunpoint by an Academy Homes member.
In 2008, a second informant successfully bought an ounce of coke from Brown for $1,100, the feds say, adding he then made a second buy - 2 ounces of coke for $2,000 - a week later.
The trail then went dry until Brown got locked up for driving with a suspended license - and officials monitored his phone calls, through which he managed to arrange drug sales - referring to drug packages to be delivered to customers as "sneakers."
A co-defendant, Archie Allen, is scheduled for sentencing next month.