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Addiction in Franklin County

Orange man facing heroin, gun charges

  • Recorder/Mike Phillips<br/>Police escort Kenneth Dennis from his Mechanic Street home in Orange around noon on Friday.

    Recorder/Mike Phillips
    Police escort Kenneth Dennis from his Mechanic Street home in Orange around noon on Friday.

  • Submitted photo<br/>Kenneth Dennis, 46, of Orange, was arrested Friday on heroin distribution and gun charges.

    Submitted photo
    Kenneth Dennis, 46, of Orange, was arrested Friday on heroin distribution and gun charges.

  • Recorder/Mike Phillips<br/>Police escort Kenneth Dennis from his Mechanic Street home in Orange around noon on Friday.
  • Submitted photo<br/>Kenneth Dennis, 46, of Orange, was arrested Friday on heroin distribution and gun charges.

ORANGE — A regional task force arrested a local man Friday on charges including heroin distribution and illegal possession of firearms.

At about noon on Friday, members of the recently formed Western Massachusetts Anti-Crime Task Force executed a warrant at 18 Mechanic St., where they found heroin, a scale and packaging materials, and five shotguns, according to a statement from the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.

Kenneth Dennis, 46, of 18 Mechanic St., was arrested in the raid, and is expected to be charged with heroin distribution (subsequent offense), possession of heroin with intent to distribute (subsequent offense), possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and five counts of being a level three armed career criminal in possession of a shotgun without an FID card.

An NWDA spokeswoman said there were about 2 grams of the drug in the apartment, and that the suspect had been caught selling heroin outside the residence as police prepared to execute the warrant.

The suspect told police he uses heroin, and sells the drug to support his own habit, according to the statement. The shotguns, he told officers, he planned to sell, reads the statement.

Heroin has been an ongoing problem in the district, precipitating other crimes like robberies and burglaries, Jeremy Bucci, the DA’s chief trial attorney, previously stated.

“Today’s arrest demonstrates the commitment of state and local law enforcement to combatting this issue,” he said Friday.

“We will hold accountable those that poison our communities,” reads a statement by Bucci. “We will pay particular attention to those who choose to mix drugs and illegal weapons in our effort to safeguard our citizens against the well documented potential consequences of such criminal activity.”

This marks the second heroin arrest the task force has made in the last two weeks. On April 26, the task force arrested Gary LeFebvre, of Granby, on charges of heroin trafficking and prescription pill possession, after an investigation.

“Distribution of opiates will not be tolerated in this district,” Bucci wrote.

The investigation into Dennis began in January, according to an NWDA spokeswoman.

Federal law imposes stiffer sentences on “career criminals” convicted of three or more violent or serious drug crimes. Previous convictions place Dennis on that list. If convicted of the firearms charges, he faces a 15-year prison sentence for each.

As a subsequent offense, a conviction on the heroin distribution charge would bring a state prison sentence of 3½ to 15 years. If the firearms charges hold up, they would negate the possibility of parole from a heroin distribution sentence.

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