Drug sweep nets 23 arrests, $14K in heroin: ‘These are the people driving crime in our neighborhoods’

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MANCHESTER, NH – Chief David J. Mara of the Manchester Police Department  announced the latest joint operation drug sweep involving 23 arrests.

At approximately 5 a.m. on Nov. 13 officers and agents formed eight separate arrest teams and began Operation Fall Cleanup. The teams arrived at multiple locations throughout the city and started the sweep. One of the arrested subjects, Christopher Quijano, of 375 Cedar St., was also charged with possession of a controlled drug after investigators conducted a search of his home. Inside, detectives located approximately 140 grams of heroin (street value of $14,000), two long rifles, one semi-automatic handgun, a small amount of cocaine and marijuana.

Chief Mara said although these may be considered “low level” dealers, it’s an important step toward getting drugs off city streets. Continued efforts to arrest those dealing drugs have a direct impact on the negative quality of life issues felt by many residents, Mara said.

“Typically our drug efforts focus on the bigger dealers,” said Mara. “It’s just as important to go after the low-level dealers… these are the people that are right out there in the streets, right out there in the neighborhood, causing a lot of harm, causing a lot of damage and driving crime in the neighborhood,” Mara said.

He said his drug investigation team is already working on the next sweep.

“Some might say drugs is a victimless crime. It isn’t. It drives the theft crimes, crimes of violence, and this is what you end up having. You have people dealing drugs. And when you deal drugs you need protection,  so your going to have weapons, and there going to be people not only going after their drugs, but the proceeds you see there,” Mara said.

Unfortunately, individuals selling drugs with little or no prior record means they normally have low bail and are back on the street without doing much if any jail time. State prisons are filled with people arrested for drug charges, which contributes to the  revolving door.

And at the core of it all is the problem of addiction, Mara said.

It costs about $30,000 to incarcerate one person in the county jail, money that would be better spent on rehabilitation, Mara said.

“It’s got to be a three-pronged approach. We have to focus on education, enforcement, and rehabilitation,” Mara said.

“What this illustrates is that in Manchester it’s a multi-agency endeavor. Every day we’re working together to make the city of Manchester safer,” Mara said. “We want to make it hard to buy drugs in Manchester… We’re not going to let these people rest. If you’re going to sell drugs in Manchester, there’s a good possibility you’re going to be arrested and spend some time in jail or prison,” Mara said.

This is the second drug roundup since February 2014. On February 20, 2014 Manchester Police coordinated efforts  and made 27 arrests.

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image001Arrested Nov. 13 were:

Thomas Williams, 33, of 101 Putnam Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug (2 counts);

Christopher Quijano, 37, of 375 Cedar Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug (4 counts) search warrant;

John Lawver, 22, of 330 Somerville Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug (3 counts);

Mariah Randall, 20, of 374 Merrimack Street, City of Manchester, NH Charged with sale of a controlled drug (3 counts);

Michael Messina, 54, of 301 Amory Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug

Arthur Debelis, 52, of 195 Bridge Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug (3 counts);

Ophelia Burnett, 29, of 65 Log Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug (2 counts);

Momodu Bah, 32, of 570 Amory Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug

Natasha Gonzalez, 20, of 482 Granite Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug (3 counts);

Altagracia Rodriguez, 43, of 482 Granite Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug (4 counts);

Rose-Marie Ruth Cote, 52, of 159 S. Main Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug (3 counts);

Theresa Moore, 56, of 455 Union Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug;

Ramon Valdez, 43, of 251 Wilson Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug;

Rhonda Ewing, 46, of 100 Lincoln Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug

Robin Buckley, 28, of 47 Penacook Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug

Cheryl Parent, 40, of 69 Cottage Way, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug;

Linda Lafond, 54, of 181 Woodbury Street, City of Manchester, NH charged with sale of a controlled drug;

Nathaniel Davis, 41, of 348 Spruce Street, City of Manchester, NH Charged with Sale of a Controlled Drug

Five additional people are part of the operation, however each of the following individuals are currently incarcerated for other charges and have been booked in while in custody.

Kenneth Bradford, 37, Hillsborough County House of Correction, charged with sale of a controlled drug (3 counts);

Paul Cerullo, 32, New Hampshire State Prison, charged with sale of a controlled drug (2 counts);

Edgar Caliz, 32, Hillsborough County House of Correction, charged with sale of a controlled drug (2 counts);

Julius Lane, 34, Hillsborough County House of Correction, charged with sale of a controlled drug (3 counts);

Tommy Rodgers, 29, Middleton County Jail, Middleton, Mass., charged with sale of a controlled drug (2 counts).

The collaborative effort  started between six to twelve months ago, police said. The criminal cases involved the purchase of controlled substances, such as cocaine, heroin, crack-cocaine and various other prescription drugs from 31 separate individuals. Upon completion of the investigation, warrants were issued for those involved and Operation Fall Cleanup was implemented.

The ongoing operation is still waiting on the arrest of the remaining individuals, police said.

The investigation involved multiple local and federal agencies including: Manchester Police Department Special Enforcement Division, Street Crime Unit and the Manchester Police SWAT team; New Hampshire State Police, Narcotics Investigative Unit; New Hampshire Probation and Parole; Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department; United States Federal Bureau of Investigation; United States Drug Enforcement Agency, High Intensity Drug Task Force (HIDTA)and United States Department of Homeland Security. Members of participating agencies in attendance included; Manchester Police Department Assistant Chief Nick Willard, Captain Shawn Fournier-Commander of the Special Enforcement Division; NH State Police Major Dave Parendeau and Lieutenant John Encarnacao, Hillsborough County Sheriff James Hardy, US DEA Senior Agent Scott Hacker and US Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Michael Posanka.

About Carol Robidoux 5368 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.