A Boston city employee was among 29 people charged in connection with a massive gun and drug sweep on Thursday morning in Boston and Brockton, Massachusetts.
Gary Webster, a former staffer for City Councilor at-Large Michelle Wu who is listed as an employee on the Boston Planning and Development Agency website, is accused of trafficking cocaine and fentanyl on the taxpayers' dime, federal and local law enforcement officials announced Thursday. Prosecutors said he sold drugs to someone who was secretly working with authorities.
Wu's office confirmed the 35-year-old Webster was formerly their director of constituent services, but had not been employed by the office for about a year. The circumstances surrounding his departure are unclear. The website for the BPDA, the city's planning and economic development department, lists Webster as a project manager.
Webster has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.
In a statement, Wu said she and her team were "saddened" and "shocked" by the allegations.
"Today's news only strengthens my commitment to creating opportunities for all in our city," Wu said. "Whenever one of our aspiring young people makes choices that lead to actions such as those alleged here, it is a discouraging and sad day for the city."
Twenty-five people were arrested on state and federal charges early Thursday morning in connection with the Project Safe Neighborhood sweep, which involved approximately 300 law enforcement agents.
In addition to the 25 arrests, two others remain at-large and two others were already in state custody.
Another person arrested in the sweep was Terrell Walker, 63, of Brighton, who was convicted of manslaughter in the 1973 killing of Boston Police Officer John Schroeder. Walker is charged with several firearms-related offenses for allegedly selling a .40 caliber Ruger P89DC handgun and 42 rounds of ammunition to a cooperating witness in November 2016.
During the investigation, law enforcement officers said they bought or seized 15 guns and seized fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.
The Project Safe Neighborhood sweep was the culmination of two separate federal investigations, Operation Landshark and Operation Nor'easter. Officials say 16 of those netted in Operation Landshark are believed to be among the top 30 violent criminal offenders in Brockton.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said the arrests will improve safety in Boston and Brockton.
"The guns and the drugs, that's what's destroying our neighborhoods," he said, adding, "One of the most prevalent crimes facing our communities is senseless violence by suspects wielding firearms."