Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Melrose Police arrest three amid drug investigation

A lengthy investigation into drug activity in the Melrose Highlands led to the arrests last week of two alleged drug dealers from Lynn, and a Melrose man wanted on a default warrant who police say met with the pair outside his home on Marvin Road while they were transporting narcotics in their vehicle.

The arrests followed weeks of police surveillance in the Marvin Road area, near the Melrose Highlands MBTA Commuter Rail station, during which time the Marvin Road resident emerged as a suspect in the investigation, Melrose Police Lt. Mark DeCroteau told theFree Press this week.

Detectives were monitoring the area near the man’s house last Wednesday, Nov. 24, at about 8 p.m. when DeCroteau said he was observed the man speaking with Lynn residents Rubell Cornelio, 28, and Christopher Hernandez, 20, who were parked outside his home.

Melrose detectives stopped the group and questioned them at approximately 8 p.m., and searched the vehicle driven by Cornelio and Hernandez. DeCroteau said police discovered an unspecified quantity of an illegal substance inside the car, and both men were arrested and charged with possession of a class A drug with intent to distribute. Under Massachusetts law, the class A drug category includes ketamine, opiates, and opium derivatives, including heroin, among other substances.

Testing has not been completed to confirm the identity of the drugs found in the car, and DeCroteau declined to comment on the nature of the substance until test results are returned. He also declined to comment on the quantity that was seized, where the substance was found, or how it was stored, citing an ongoing investigation by the Melrose Police Department.

Cornelio and Hernandez were booked at the Melrose Police station and released on $100 cash bail. They were scheduled to be arraigned in Malden District Court on Friday, Nov. 26.

The Marvin Road resident was also arrested on a default warrant out of Malden District Court. He was released on $200 cash bail.

Email Jim Haddadin at jhaddadin@cnc.com.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Medford Man Gets 15 Years in Cocaine Bust

A Medford man has been found guilty in connection with the 2008 seizure of about nine kilograms of cocaine whose street value was estimated as $720,000 to $900,000, the office Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone reported Monday, Nov. 22.

Heriberto Cruz, 43, of was found guilty Nov. 19 after a jury trial on charges of conspiracy and trafficking cocaine of more than 200 grams. Middlesex Superior Court Judge Tuttman sentenced Cruz to 15-18 years in state prison.

"These were significant arrests at the time that resulted in nine kilograms of cocaine being seized and taken off the streets of Medford," Leone said. "Illegal drug trafficking is a supply and demand business that is has a tremendously negative impact and adversely affects the quality of life in our communities.

"To make a significant impact in this area, we will continue to actively investigate and prosecute significant drug distribution crimes to reduce the supply side, while actively partnering on the intervention and prevention side to reduce demand. I want to thank the DEA and Medford P.D. for their cooperative effort in this investigation."

The case of Cruz’s codefendant, Patricia Taia, was still pending and her next court date was due to be Nov. 22 for a status review.

According to authorities, on Saturday, July 19, 2008, the Boston office of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) contacted the Middlesex PACT Unit regarding the seizure of nine kilograms of cocaine.

Based on information obtained after further investigation, two days later, a search warrant was obtained by the PACT Unit to be executed at Cruz’s residence. On execution of the search warrant, 7 kilograms of cocaine were found within Cruz’s house, with an additional 2 kilograms found in Patricia Taia’s SUV parked in the driveway. Both defendants were arrested and charged at that time.

Authorities also seized $100,000 in US currency found in the house and in a safe deposit box belonging to the defendants.

The arrests and seizures were the result of an investigation conducted by the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney's PACT Unit, the Boston office of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Medford Police Department.

The assistant district attorney assigned to this case is David Solet.


Two men arrested in connection to the murder Thursday don’t want to show their faces in court.

Lawyers for Charles Douglas Mendez and Tacoma Massie asked District Court Chief Judge Gilbert Nadeau to allow Mendez and Massie to remain in their cells rather than go before the camera set up in District Court for their arraignment Friday.

“There is an identification issue,” lawyer James Powderly argued. “There were two civilian witnesses on the scene. Descriptions were not given.
“Bringing out my client now would compromise that identification.”

Lawyer Daniel Igo said he would make the same argument for his client.
Judge Nadeau said he would rule on the motion when court reconvenes at 2 p.m. Neither defendant was brought into court in the morning session.

Mendez, 28, of Barnaby Street, and Massie, 29, of Hope Street, were arrested on Kellogg Street shortly after police discovered the body of Edward Platts, 31 of Middletown, R.I., who had been shot and killed while sitting in his car outside Building 11 of the Father Diaferio Village housing complex, 220 Johnson St., Thursday at 6:45 p.m.

Mendez and Massie were charged with illegally carrying a firearm.
Those charges were not changed during the morning session. Both defendants qualify for a court appointed lawyer. Because it is possible that more serious charges could be filed, Nadeau asked Clerk Magistrate Karen Eng to appoint lawyers who have the certifications necessary to try cases in Superior Court as an appointed lawyer.

Robert Kidd, a senior prosecutor in District Attorney Sam Sutter’s office, appeared on behalf of the prosecution.

The arraignment is scheduled to resume at 2 p.m. today.

E-mail Kevin P. O’Connor at koconnor@heraldnews.com.