CONCORD – A Massachusetts man who helped create a methamphetamine ring in Nashua was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison, prosecutors announced.
Alan Phillips, 49, of North Chelmsford, Mass., was already behind bars at the time of his arrest in 2009, following a two-year investigation by Nashua police and federal agents that was dubbed “Operation Crystal Baker.”
Thirteen other persons were charged in connection with the drug ring and have since pleaded guilty and been sentenced.
Thomas McElligott, whom police claim operated a meth lab in his home at 83 Gillis St., Nashua, near the Dr. Norman Crisp Elementary School, was sentenced last year to 3½ years in prison, U.S. District Court records show.
Phillips was charged in the Nashua case following a 2005 arrest in Chelmsford, where police were watching him for years.
Phillips moved to Massachusetts after being paroled from a 1996 methamphetamine conviction in San Diego.
He was charged with running a meth lab in Tyngsborough, Mass., in 1998, but the charges were dismissed after one witness died and others refused to testify.
Investigators claim that Phillips taught various people around Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire how to make methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty last year to a single count of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine from 2005-07.
Methamphetamine has long plagued the Midwestern and western United States. In addition to being highly addictive, methamphetamine manufacturing makes a toxic volatile mess, sometimes setting off fires and explosions.
Nashua Police first learned of McElligott and his lab in 2007, when a Massachusetts man stopped for speeding on Arlington Street was caught with a mobile meth lab in the back of his Ford F-150 truck.
That man was later convicted and sentenced to five to 20 years in State Prison.
Police and federal agents raided McElligott’s home Aug. 10, 2007, and found all the makings of a meth lab, but continued to watch and investigate as McElligott and associates continued to buy ingredients from local stores, and make methamphetamine, until a second raid in 2009.