Police say the street value of the heroin confiscated is more than $2.2 million.
MANCHESTER, NH – Police on Monday announced a major heroin bust which came after days of investigation following a shooting last week. As a result of a multi-jurisdictional investigation, police made three arrests and confiscated $2.2 million in heroin/fentanyl, four handguns, two vehicles, more than $226,000 in cash and shut down a drug manufacturing operation in a Lawrence, Mass., duplex.
The incident began to unfold with a reported shooting incident on June 22 in which Jeannette Hardy, 24, told police she was allegedly shot while fleeing a home invasion at her apartment on Winter Street. She told police a black man dressed in all black shot her.
Detectives followed up with the information provided by Hardy and found a large quantity of heroin inside Hardy’s Winter Street apartment. After a search warrant was granted, police confiscated: 1,929 grams of heroin; $198,542 in cash; a money counter; a 2007 Land Rover and a 2008 Audi A6.
Hardy was arrested on June 24, charged with possession with intent to distribute. She appeared in the 9th Circuit Court in Manchester on June 25 and posted bail. Her probable cause hearing is set for June 25.
The initial seizures at the Winter Street address led police to additional suspects in Massachusetts.
Members of the Manchester Police Department later identified one of them as Luis Nieves, 33, of Haverhill, Mass. Surveillance units from both the Manchester Police Department Special Enforcement Division and the Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration followed Nieves on June 24 from Massachusetts to Manchester, where Manchester Police conducted a motor vehicle stop at about 8 p.m. on the city’s West Side. Nieves was found to be in possession of 2,120 grams of heroin (just over two kilograms with an estimated street value of $212,000.) He was charged with: Possession with intent to distribute; and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Nieves appeared in the 9th Circuit Court-Manchester on June 25. He was held on a $250,000 cash only bail awaiting a probable cause hearing on July 8, 2015. He is currently incarcerated at Hillsborough County Department of Correction.
Investigators from the United States Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Administration worked intensively with Massachusetts State Police, Lawrence, MA, Methuen, MA and Andover, MA police departments in an attempt to locate and apprehend another key suspect believed to be involved in the drug investigation.
They were able to identify the third subject, Jose C. Casellas, 37, of Lawrence, Mass. Casellas allegedly delivered three additional kilograms of heroin to an undisclosed source in Andover, Mass., on June 25 at 8 p.m. Andover, Mass., Police officers took part in the investigation and apprehended Casellas with three kilograms of heroin/fentanyl. The fentanyl mixture is of great concern because it has a transdermal quality which makes it extremely dangerous for investigators to handle. Therefore, the drugs, with an estimated street value of $300,000, was taken into custody and sent to a laboratory in Washington, DC, to test the levels of heroin and fentanyl. Casellas was charged with trafficking in heroin over 200 grams; and giving a false name during booking. He will appear in a Massachusetts court on July 22 and is currently being held on $1,500,000 bail.
A search of Casellas’ Lawrence Street apartment in Lawrence, Mass., revealed an additional $20,000 in cash. A short time later investigators revealed a second Lawrence, Mass., apartment on Woodland Street. Casellas rented the Woodland Street duplex and allegedly used it exclusively as a drug mill/laboratory.
Members of the Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division Clandestine Lab team suited up in Level-A protective gear to search the Woodland Street apartment. Once inside, they located an additional 15 kilograms of heroin/fentanyl (estimated street value of $1,500,000) in bulk form. They also located multiple drug pressers, finger presses (a finger of heroin contains 10 grams and has a street value up to $500), blenders and other items commonly used in the manufacturing and packaging of illegal drugs, to include heroin and fentanyl.
The investigation was conducted jointly by Manchester Police Department; Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Administration-New England Field Division; Massachusetts State Police; Lawrence, MA Police Department; Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General; Andover, MA Police Department; Methuen, MA Police Department; and the Essex, MA County Sheriff’s Department.