Youth coach will plead guilty in drug trafficking case

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — After previous court proceedings were postponed last month, a former New Bedford youth football league coach is expected to plead guilty to charges of drug trafficking.

Sharik Mendes, 39, is charged with heroin distribution after he was arrested in June as part of a massive federal drug trafficking sting in Bristol County. Mendes is accused of getting large quantities of heroin from Providence-based suppliers, and prosecutors said informants had purchased cocaine and heroin from him several times last year.

The precise charges are conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute.

The plea hearing is now set for October 5, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.

Upon sentencing, Mendes could face as much as 20 years in federal prison, a fine of $1 million and a lifetime of supervised release, among other penalties.

Mendes owned and operated the H.E.A.R.T. gym on Tarkiln Place in the city, where several local high school athletes have been trained in the past. He also coached Pop Warner football teams in the past but has been told not to return to that position by team officials.