Three local men are scheduled for a criminal trial at U.S. District Court in Bangor next month, and cocaine charges are at the core of the federal case.

Phillip Kelley, 34, of Belfast, and two local brothers, 29-year-old Christopher and 26-year-old Matthew Hurley of Belfast and Los Angeles, Calif., each face a charge of conspiracy with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. All three men have pleaded not guilty and are currently free on bail, according to court documents.

Jury selection for the trial of Kelley and the Hurleys is set to begin Tuesday, March 1, and court documents indicate that a trial may begin immediately thereafter. Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. will preside over the case, according to court documents.

A fourth man, Shawn Perito, pled guilty on the same charge in December. Perito was arrested in Belfast in November, and after initially pleading not guilty, Perito opted to plead guilty on the charge in early December. Court documents state Perito has been held without bail since his arrest.

All four men were indicted in September, but the federal indictment was not made public until all four were arrested. Court documents show that Kelley was arrested in November in Jefferson, Maine, while Christopher Hurley was arrested in New York and Matthew Hurley was arrested in central California, according to court records.

A sentencing date for Perito has not been set, but according to Perito’s plea agreement, a sentence of between five and 40 years could be imposed. In addition, Perito could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $400,000, and will face between four years and a lifetime of supervised release upon completing his sentence.

As part of Perito’s plea agreement, Perito waived his right to appeal the sentence that is imposed, so long as it does not exceed 151 months.

In his explanation of the federal government’s version of Perito’s case, U.S. Attorney Joel B. Casey stated Perito was part of a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, which Casey described as an operation that spanned between Bronx, N.Y., and Waldo County. The drug distribution ring, alleged Casey, began in January 2005 and ended in March 2009. Casey stated in the document that had the case against Perito gone to trial, individuals identified in court documents only as “cooperating defendants” would have testified that the source for the cocaine was Carlos Flores Zamora, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who resided in the Bronx.

Two of the “cooperating defendants,” according to Casey’s brief, would also have testified at Perito’s trial they each started supplying Perito with cocaine in late 2008 and early 2009.

Zamora, 34, pleaded guilty to charges of distribution of cocaine and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances for his role in the conspiracy. In September, Zamora was sentenced to serve more than 14 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release, with the stipulation that Zamora would be surrendered to the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation upon his release from prison. If Zamora is deported upon his release, court documents state that he should remain outside the United States to carry out the terms of his supervised release. Court documents indicated that Zamora had been removed from the country once in 1998, and on at least one more occasion in 2004.

Zamora is one of six men who have been sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in the cocaine ring that allegedly involved Kelley and the Hurley brothers as well. In May of last year, 34-year-old Richard Calligan of Searsmont was sentenced to serve five years and seven months for his role in the cocaine distribution operation, and in July of last year, co-conspirator Jeffrey Emerson, 34, of Swanville, was sentenced to nine years in federal prison. Ralphy Dominguez, 25, of Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced to five years in prison in May of last year, while 43-year-old Michael Dunn of Lincolnville was sentenced to serve three years in federal prison. Rodney Littlefield, 38, of Belfast, was also ordered to serve three years in prison at his sentencing, which took place in June of last year, according to court records.

If convicted on the charges, Kelley and the Hurley brothers could serve a minimum of five to a maximum of 40 years in prison. Like Perito, all three men could also face fines of up to $400,000 as well as between four years and a lifetime of supervised release upon completion of their sentences.