Monday, July 26, 2010

Attorney Powderly Appointed in Fall River Kidnapping and Rape Case

Suspect held without bail in Fall River kidnapping, rape

By Michael Holtzman and Kevin P. O'Connor
Posted Jul 26, 2010 @ 01:25 PM
Last update Jul 26, 2010 @ 06:31 PM

In a crime Police Chief Daniel Racine called “one of the worst acts of violence in recent memory,” a city man allegedly kidnapped a 58-year-old woman from her front porch, took her to his apartment and raped her Sunday night.

The victim later led detectives to the Tremont Street residence where the assault took place, police said. The suspect, 38-year-old Angel Luis Cruz, was eventually found near his apartment and arrested.

Cruz, of 186 Tremont St., Apt. 1, was arraigned Monday on charges of kidnapping, aggravated rape, assault with a dangerous weapon and intimidating a witness. He was ordered held in custody pending a dangerousness hearing set for Aug. 3.

Defense lawyer James Powderly made no argument for bail. Instead, he asked to be allowed to make that argument at the dangerousness hearing.
The victim was likely chosen at random, said police spokesman Sgt. Paul Gauvin. “There’s nothing to believe he knew her.”

The middle-aged Asian victim was treated and released at Charlton Memorial Hospital, Gauvin said.

“She came home at 5:30 or 6 this morning,” the woman’s oldest son, 38, said after Cruz’s arraignment. “With the comfort of her neighbors and family, I think she is glad to be home.

“She is angry. She is so small, she couldn’t defend herself.”

Police said the victim was dragged from her porch near Alden and Harrison streets about 7:30 p.m. One of her sons witnessed the abduction and briefly gave chase, providing police with a description of the suspect's car and a partial license plate number.

An hour later, the “visibly upset” victim was walking toward her home and told police she had been dropped off in the area of Quarry and Lebanon streets.

She told them she was threatened with physical violence and “the suspect continually told the victim that he would assault her with tools that were lying on the floor of the car,” reports said.

She told police she was physically forced into the Tremont Street apartment and sexually assaulted.

With the help of landmarks, descriptions and witnesses, police identified Cruz as the suspect. Detective John McDonald located the suspect a short time later in his Nissan Sentra near his residence. He was immediately taken into custody.

McDonald and Detective Lawrence Ferreira executed a search warrant early Monday and police levied the charges against Cruz. The rape charge carries a life sentence in state prison, Gauvin said.

“This attack is one of the worst acts of violence in recent memory. The assault and abduction of this victim is disturbing and shocking, even to seasoned investigators,” Racine said. “While we are remorseful the attack occurred, I am pleased the officers were able to locate and apprehend the suspect in short order. Our hearts go out to the victim and her family.”

The woman’s son and several other relatives sat quietly in District Court during the arraignment. When Cruz was lead into the courtroom and placed in the prisoner’s dock, which is surrounded by glass, he never glanced in their direction.

“I wanted to climb over the bench when I saw him,” the woman’s son said. “They put that glass there for a reason.”

The police department’s Major Crimes detectives and Crime Scene Identification units took part in the investigation. A massive search was conducted prior to the arrest, with Environmental Police searching the Fall River/Freetown reservation area.

Officer Alan Beausoleil responded initially to the scene and interviewed the victim’s son, reports said.

E-mail Michael Holtzman at
E-mail Kevin P. O'Connor at

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Former equestrian Silva gets 22.5 years for exploitation, child porn charges

By Kevin P. O'Connor
Posted Jun 30, 2010 @ 08:41 PM

Joseph Silva is an evil person who hurt those who trusted him, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.

But, because of the strength and courage of a small group of young women, Silva will not be able to do that anymore, Detective Joseph Martin added.

Silva, 35, formerly of Swansea, will spend almost all of his life in prison or on probation after pleading guilty to using his job as an equestrian trainer at stables in Berkley and Swansea to seduce girls, take pornographic pictures of them and share those pictures with others.

He agreed on Tuesday to 270 months — 22.5 years — in federal custody for the sexual exploitation of a child, transportation of and possession of child pornography.

He was brought into Bristol County Superior Court Wednesday where he admitted his guilt before Judge Robert Kane to statutory rape, posing a child in the nude for photographs, possession of child pornography, indecent assault on a child younger than 14 and disseminating photographs of a child in the nude.

Silva was sentenced to 20 years in prison, to run concurrently with his federal sentence, and to 20 years of probation that will begin when he completes his federal sentence and probation.

“The man before you is not a good man,” one young woman testified before Silva was sentenced. “He likes to prey on children to fulfill his fantasies.”

The woman, one of the victims in the case, was not identified by name. She told the court that she was just one of Silva’s victims to attempt suicide.

“Before I met him, I was a happy and healthy teenage girl. That slowly went downhill. The ways I let him into my life because I trusted him I will regret forever.

“I wasn’t his first victim and I wasn’t the last. There is no punishment enough for what he has done.”

Karen Lynne Fabrizio of Pembroke, a close relative of one of the victims, also addressed Silva. Silva faced Fabrizio, as he faced all the victims, without visible emotion.

“You hurt people so much with what you have done,” she said. “You took away their childhood.

“You need to know that the sickness you have is the poison that will destroy you.”

After the hearing, Fabrizio added: “I just want the girls to know to always speak up. Don’t be afraid. Speak up, as scary as it is.

“To the parents, make sure you listen to your children. And it is never the child’s fault. It is never their fault.”

The case began when a Swansea teenager went to the police and met with Detective Joseph A. Martin and Sgt. Gregory Ryan. Silva was arrested March 28, 2007, at his home on Dillon Lane in Swansea.

“The reason he is convicted and going to prison lies with this group of amazing young women,” Martin said after the sentencing. “They had the strength and fortitude to keep going.

“Because of that, they saved countless other girls from the same fate.”
The plea agreement was worked out between prosecutor Silvia Rudman and defense lawyer Joseph J. Balliro Jr.

Silva must serve his federal sentence. With a sentence of 22.5 years, he must spend 18 years in federal prison before he is eligible for parole. His state sentence will be served at the same time.

Once he finishes his federal obligation, he will be on state probation for 20 years. During that time he must register as a sex offender, have no contact with the victims or with minors, cannot use a computer except for his work, will be subject to random, warrantless searches if he has computer equipment in his home and will be required to remain in Massachusetts except with the permission of his probation officer.

Silva has been in custody intermittently since his arrest. He was granted bail but that bail was revoked after he contacted one of the victims in the case.

Kane gave Silva prison credit for the time he has already served.

E-mail Kevin P. O’Connor at

Five Arraigned on Drug Trafficking Charges

Alleged ring was based in Colombia, US attorney says

After a trail of cash led federal investigators from Boston to Colombia in a five-year investigation, eight men were arrested, five of whom were arraigned in Boston yesterday afternoon on drug trafficking charges.

The investigation began in 2005, when federal investigators discovered that drug money was being delivered to Boston, where it would land in the hands of professional money launderers before working its way back to drug dealers in Colombia.

It is unusual for Latin American drug traffickers to be extradited and tried in Boston, as the city is not a typical port of entry used by international narcotic traffickers. But the Hub has just as much of a stake in stopping the flow of drugs as any other US city, US District Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the top federal prosecutor for Massachusetts, said at a news conference in Boston yesterday.

“It shows that Boston is not just some tiny town that does not care about solving the national and international problem of drug trafficking,’’ he said. “We’re going to play a role in it.’’

To trace the money, federal agents posed as money launderers and were hired to handle some of the drug ring’s cash. Over the past several years, investigators used the money trail to find where cocaine was arriving in the United States. They also tracked cocaine traffic in Colombia.

“What is unique about this case is that we normally follow the drug trail to the money,’’ Ortiz said. “In this case, the exact opposite was true.’’

Federal investigators coordinated multiple “money pickups’’ in which they would receive money from drug traffickers and then wire it through “undercover bank accounts,’’ or occasionally the black market, back to ac counts controlled by the drug cartel.

During the five-year probe, which became known as Operation Beanpot, officials said investigators seized 2,900 kilograms of cocaine worth at least $100 million in the United States.

The drug traffickers used Filipino Merchant Marines working on commercial vessels to ship the narcotics out of Colombia and into the United States. The cocaine taken to the United States mostly went through ports of entry in New Orleans and Miami, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

It is unknown whether any drugs trafficked by the suspects ever landed in Boston. But Ortiz said the international drug trade affects Boston.

“People in our city die and get hurt, and neighborhoods get harmed, by these drugs,’’ Ortiz said. “If we can play a role in keeping those drugs from leaving Colombia and entering Boston . . . then we are playing a massive role.’’

The five men who appeared in court yesterday were identified as Leyvan Alvarez-Bastidas, 39, who is also known as “Ivan,’’ Hector Javier Castro-Meza, 47, known as “Pepe,’’ Gustavo Castro-Caicedo, 50, known as “Luis Amaro,’’ Fidel Alberto Ruales-Vallijo, 36, known as “Cui,’’ and May Adolfo Morcillo-Molina, 29, known as “May.’’

Yesterday afternoon, the five men were led into the US District Court in Boston with their hands and feet shackled, heads down and faces drawn.

Being held by Colombian authorities are Luis Alberto Zapata-Sanchez, 43, known as “El Negro,’’ Bernardo Alberto Merino-Cuaran, 27, known as “Gaviota,’’ and Alex Castro-Cortes, 34, known as “Ali.’’ They may also be brought to Boston pending approval by the Colombian president.

Federal officials would not say whether any of the defendants were suspected to have ties to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a guerrilla army better known as FARC that has been linked to numerous acts of violence, kidnapping, and participation in the illegal drug trade.

The United States has charged all of the men with the same charges: violating the US Code on multiple drug-related counts. These charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison with supervised releases and a $4 million fine, said Assistant US Attorney Zachary R. Hafer, who served as the prosecutor in yesterday’s arraignment.

All five of the men pleaded “not guilty’’ and accepted voluntary detention, meaning they will be held by the US Marshal until their next appearance in court, set for Sept. 15.

While defense attorneys in the case declined to comment yesterday, court officials said that the United States would be ready to bring as many as 15 witnesses to testify if the case were to go to trial.

Federal investigators said unlike other drug extradition cases, this time, undercover agents were able to successfully identify and apprehend members of the cartel from the top (Alvarez-Bastidas was identified as the group leader) to the bottom (individuals who transported small amounts of cocaine into the United States on buses and trucks).

The investigation was conducted by special agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration and criminal investigators from the Internal Revenue Service, officials said. Investigators from Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security, the Colombian equivalent of the FBI, also participated.

“International borders offer no security to drug traffickers who seek to flood our communities with tons of cocaine and launder the proceeds as alleged in this indictment,’’ Steven M. Derr, the DEA’s special agent-in-charge, said in a statement. “Traffickers will not escape the grasp of law enforcement professionals who have dedicated themselves to putting these criminal groups out of business.’’

Marissa Lang can be reached at

© Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Police Smell Pot Coming from Car, Discover Cocaine in Wellsley Mass.


Driver charged with possession of Class B substance.

A 21-year-old Wellesley man caught with marijuana was right when he told a police detective pot had been decriminalized in Massachusetts. Keeping a bag of cocaine in your car, however, is still very much a criminal act.

While making an early-morning motor vehicle stop on Weston Road Sunday, two officers, including a detective, smelled marijuana emanating from a yellow vehicle as it passed them. The police followed the car to the Mobil gas station on Washington Street, where the detective questioned the driver, Tyler Boyd of 4 Damien Road, about the odor.

Boyd, who had two male passengers, initially said there was no marijuana in the car, according to police; he later conceded he had less than an ounce of pot and cited the state's 2008 decriminalization of marijuana, which makes such small possession punishable by a $100 civil fine. Offenders are not reported to the state's criminal history board. Boyd turned over a bottle that contained about two grams of marijuana.

The detective also noticed in the back seat an open 12-pack of beer, which one passenger had attempted to cover with a towel. Additionally, police located a bag containing a white powder - which a field test showed to be cocaine - and a bottle of pills, the prescription for which did not belong to anyone in the vehicle. Boyd was arrested and charged with possession of a class B substance; the two passengers will be summoned to Dedham District Court for the same. Boyd also was issued a town bylaw violation for the marijuana possession.

"We see marijuana possession periodically," Wellesley police spokeswoman Lt. Marie Cleary said. "Other narcotics, less often. That's not to say it never happens, but it's not weekly or even monthly."

Attempted Murder Charges DISMISSED Against Attorney James Powderly's Client Facing A Mandatory Minimum 10 Year Prison Term

By Kevin P. O'Connor
Posted Jul 19, 2010 @ 10:48 PM
Charges were dismissed against Luis Chevere, one of three people charged with attempted murder for the shooting on Bedford Street on May 5.

Chevere, 19, of Pine Street, was released after prosecutors declined to continue the case against him.

His two former co-defendants have been indicted and are scheduled for arraignment Monday in Superior Court. They are Jovaughn Mills, 18, of Fall River, and Megan Ferreira, 20, of New Bedford.

Police allege Mills and Ferreira were in a car on Bedford Street just before midnight on May 5. Ferreira was driving when Mills opened fire on a second car at Covel Street, police said. The bullets went through the windows and door of the car, striking a Pine Street man, now 23, who needed medical treatment for a wound to his arm and for car window glass embedded in his face.

Police alleged that Chevere was in the car at the time of the shooting.
But at a hearing on May 12 in which Chevere asked for bail, defense lawyer James Powderly argued that the case against Chevere was weak.

The victim knew Chevere, but did not identify him as one of his attackers, Powderly said.

“The fact that the victim did not identify Mr. Chevere speaks volumes,” Powderly said.

District Court Judge Toby Mooney denied bail to Chevere, but bail was set at $750 cash when the matter was appealed to Superior Court.

That bail was returned after prosecutors decided there were insufficient facts to support bringing the case to a grand jury.

Mills and Ferreira have been held since their arrest two days after the shooting.

They can argue for bail again when they are arraigned in Superior Court.
If they are denied bail, the prosecution must be ready to try the case within 90 days.

A conviction on the charge of attempted murder carries a possible sentence of 20 years in prison.

Because prosecutors charge a gun was used, Mills and Ferreira face a minimum sentence of 10 years if convicted.

E-mail Kevin P. O’Connor at

Monday, July 19, 2010

Client Facing Attempted Murder Charge Granted Bail After Attorney Powderly's Argument

By Kevin P. O’Connor
Posted Jul 09, 2010 @ 08:51 PM

Chantra Say is too dangerous to walk the streets of the city, a judge ruled Friday.

But his friend, Mary Huot, can go free because her brother promised to watch over her.

Say, 19, of Stevens Street, and Huot, 19, of Fordney Street, appeared before District Court Judge Lance Garth to fight the prosecution argument that they should be held in custody until they can be tried on charges of attempted murder.

Those two, plus Jessika Sardinha, 19, of Edgemont Street, are charged in connection with the shooting of Stephen Ponte, 20, and Stephen Howland, 20, both of Hartwell Street, at the corner of Plymouth Avenue and Rodman Street on July 1 at 11:35 p.m.

“They both present a danger to the citizens of Fall River,” prosecutor Carolyn Morrissette argued Friday during a dangerousness hearing held for Say and Huot. “The shooting was in a heavily travelled part of the city and there were several people about.

“The victims did suffer extensive injuries. Mr. Stephen Howland has a shattered femur. He will require surgery to repair it.”

Morrissette called one witness to the stand. Officer Thomas DeMello reported he was the first police officer to arrive at the shooting, pulling up just moments after it occurred when he saw three witnesses flag down his police cruiser.

Howland was lying on the ground outside the Shell gas station, bleeding from wounds. Ponte was inside with bystanders starting first aid, DeMello said.

Moments later, officers stopped a Geo Tracker on Hartwell Street and Say, Huot and Sardinha were arrested. Police say they also recovered a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol from the car, its clip empty, its slide locked back — something that happens when a semi-automatic pistol his fired until it is empty.

Police allege Sardinha borrowed her mother’s car and then drove Say and Huot to a parking lot behind the Shell station to let off another friend at Straight Shooters, a pool hall.
On their way there, they drove by Ponte and Howland, who were on foot, crossing Plymouth Avenue at Rodman Street. Say and the two men shouted at each other as they passed.

When Sardinha drove into the parking lot, Say and Huot got out of the Tracker and went through a fence into the Shell property.

Sardinha later told police she heard gunshots and drove away, pulling onto Plymouth Avenue north before turning around to drive south on Plymouth Avenue. She saw Say and Huot run across Plymouth Avenue, so she stopped to pick them up and then drove away until she was stopped.

James Powderly, the lawyer for Huot, said nothing in the prosecution case justified denying bail to Huot.

“There is nothing in her history to suggest she is a dangerous person,” Powderly argued. “Mere presence at the scene of the crime is not enough to prove joint venture.

“There is no evidence at all that Ms. Huot knew there was a gun in the car, knew there was going to be a shooting or did anything after the shooting other than to flee.”

All three co-defendants are charged with attempted murder, illegal possession of a gun and assault with a deadly weapon. The prosecution alleges Say had the pistol when he got into the car and he was the only one to handle or fire the gun.

Ken Van Colen, Say’s lawyer, asked the court to release Say to home confinement while awaiting trial.

“There is more to this than just a random shooting,” Van Colen said. “Given that, are the people of Fall River in danger?”

The law requires prosecutors to begin trial within 90 days when a defendant is denied bail, but generally the court allows that time to be extended.

“The commonwealth is making a promise to the court that they will try my client within 90 days,” Van Colen said. “I have yet to see that happen in previous cases.”

Say was ordered held in custody pending trial. Huot was released to her brother’s custody but was ordered to report weekly to the Fall River police, refrain from drugs or alcohol and to observe a curfew of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Bail was previously set at $10,000 for Sardinha.

The case will be referred to a grand jury for prosecution in Superior Court. If prosecutors do not present the matter to a grand jury before Aug. 4, the case will return to District Court for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

A conviction on the charge of attempted murder with a gun carries a maximum sentence of 20 years with a 10 year minimum sentence.

E-mail Kevin P. O’Connor at