Another Malden gang member pleads guilty to drug trafficking, possession of machine gun

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A friend and co-conspirator of Jaiir Coleman — a member of the “Tiny Rascals” gang in Malden who was sentenced to 40 years in prison in February for drug trafficking and gun charges — has pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy.

Phillips Charles seen in his driver’s license photo. (Federal court filing)

Phillips “PHON C” Charles, 22, of Malden, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana and other controlled substances and one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“Wtw cuhz,” Charles allegedly texted Coleman on Oct. 5 2019 during one of their many texted drug conspiracy conversations, at 8:42 a.m. “I’m tryna grab my blicc from yah shorties whip cuz.”

For those uninitiated in the slang, the FBI agent who wrote the affidavit translates that as Charles is trying to get a gun from Coleman’s then-girlfriend’s car.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors are asking U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to sentence Charles to six and a half years in prison. Federal guidelines call for a minimum of five years and up to 40 years in prison for the conspiracy to distribute cocaine charge. The possession of a firearm — particularly a machine gun — in furtherance of a drug conspiracy charge carries a maximum of life behind bars. Judge Groton has scheduled sentencing for Sept. 7.

An un-redacted recombination of a photograph of Phillips Charles, seated in the rear, and Jaiir Coleman featured in court documents. Coleman was sentenced in February in federal court to 40 years for his role in a drug trafficking conspiracy. Charles pleaded guilty this week to his role. (Federal court filing)

Coleman isn’t identified by name in the affidavit supporting Charles’ case, but is recognizable from a photograph of the pair included in both case files and from factual statements included in the affidavit for Charles’ case.

The shared photo — which the Herald decensored since both have been convicted at this point — is a screenshot of a phone video of both men flaunting tens of thousands of dollars in cash, according to the affidavit. The investigators wrote that they believe the pair were driving around selling crack and cocaine and showing the proceeds of their work.

Later in the video, a firearm with an extended magazine is shown under Coleman’s leg.

Both men also appeared in numerous local rap videos posted to YouTube — the Herald previously reported a selection of Coleman’s verse — in which Charles can be seen holding numerous firearms, including some with “selector switches” that turn them into fully-automatic “machine guns.”

Members of the conspiracy — including Charles and Coleman — used these firearms, the feds say, “to protect the drug trafficking operation and target rival gang members.”

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