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No coronavirus pre-trial release for alleged Dorchester drug dealer who claims he has both sickle-cell anemia and asthma

A federal judge today denied a request from David Wood of Dorchester that he be allowed to await trial on fentanyl and crack distribution charges because the existing conditions he says he has would put him at high risk for complications should he contract Covid-19.

US District Court Magistrate Judge Judith Gail Dein ruled that Wood failed to provide proof he actually has sickle-cell anemia let alone a serious case of asthma and that he is way too much of a potential threat and flight risk to be allowed out of detention at a federal facility in Rhode Island.

Wood, an alleged member of the Morse Street Gang, already had a long criminal record when he was arrested in December on charges he sold the drugs to an informant three times that month. In 2010, a federal judge sentenced him to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, for an incident outside a Yawkey Way club in which BPD officers who initially stopped him for walking out of the club with an open bottle of Heineken found a loaded .25 Colt semiautomatic gun on him. At the time, he was 22 and even then had a long record.

In her ruling, Dein wrote:

The defendant has been identified as an active member of the Morse Street gang in Boston. His lengthy criminal record, as described by the government and supported by exhibits, includes juvenile and adult convictions "for being afelon in possession of a firearm (a loaded firearm with an obliterated serial number, while drinking under the influence of marijuana at a bar); larceny from a person, assault and battery, and threatening (an incident in which the defendant beat and robbed ayoung man of his cell phone and threatened him with what appeared to be afirearm); and attempt to commit acrime (an attempted armed robbery of afood delivery driver involving alead pipe), as well as numerous violations of probation." ... His last federal conviction was for being a felon in possession of afirearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. sec. 922(g)(1). During the period of supervised release following his incarceration, he cut off an electronic monitoring bracelet after awarrant had been Issued because he had violated conditions of release. His whereabouts were unknown for a period of time. There were a number of serious violations of supervised release in that case. The instant drug sales were made less than a year after supervision ended.

While this court is very concerned about the dangers of a COVID-19 outbreak at the detention facility, the danger to the community if the defendant is released is too great. He has a history of serious violent offenses and is charged with selling highly addictive drugs. The evidence is that the defendant will not comply with conditions of release. Moreover, there is a high risk that he will flee.

Innocent, etc.

Complete detention order (1.2M PDF).

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