New York City man faces felony drug trial in May, but plea deal could be in works


PITTSFIELD -- A New York City man who local police call the "kingpin" of a North County crack cocaine ring is scheduled to go to trial in Berkshire Superior Court in May on two felony drug-related charges. The possibility of a plea deal has been discussed.

On Wednesday, 42-year-old Clifton Sumlin of the Bronx appeared with his attorney, Michelle Mechta, for a pretrial hearing before Judge Daniel A. Ford.

Sumlin has been held at the Berkshire County Jail House of Correction on $1 million surety bail since his arrest by the North Adams Police on a warrant in August on single counts of cocaine distribution and a drug violation within a school zone.

Sumlin allegedly sold crack cocaine to a police informant in the parking lot of a North Adams supermarket in September 2007.

According to the Berkshire County Drug Task Force, Sumlin ran a crack cocaine distribution network from 2007 to 2009 with ties to a larger network in the Bronx. He allegedly brought drug dealers from New York and set them up in business in North Adams.

Sumlin has a history of drug convictions and uses numerous aliases, police said.

In a previous court appearance, Sumlin was described by a defense attorney not as a drug kingpin, but rather as an unemployed man living with his mother.

On Wednesday, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Richard M. Locke told the court he made a plea offer to Mechta before court. Mechta said she would discuss the offer with her client.

Locke said if Sumlin accepts the deal, they hope to set a plea date within a few weeks.

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