Turners Falls man charged with selling crack

TURNERS FALLS — After an early morning drug raid, a local man has been charged with distributing crack cocaine, and being held on $25,000 bail.

Charles Simmons, 29, of 88 Second St., pleaded innocent to a single charge of possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, in Greenfield District Court Thursday.

According to Montague Police, Detective Lee Laster and members of the Northwest District Attorney’s Anti-crime Task Force gathered at the residence at about 5:50 a.m. Thursday to execute a search warrant.

It netted them 14 rocks of crack, worth an estimated $1,200, as well as $1,180 cash, a scale, and five cell phones, according to Laster’s police report.

After multiple knocks on the door, during which police announced their presence and intent, a battering ram was used to gain entry to the first-floor apartment, wrote Laster in his police report.

Simmons and his girlfriend were found in a rear bedroom, and their child was also present during the raid, according to the report. Police handcuffed the pair, read them their rights, and showed Simmons the search warrant, according to the report.

Laster accompanied Simmons outside when he requested to speak to the detective privately, wrote Laster.

There, he told Laster that he had a small amount of marijuana, but was not a drug dealer, according to the report. While speaking, the suspect appeared nervous, moved around quite a bit, reaching his hands behind himself and into his boxer shorts, wrote Laster.

While the two stood outside the building, a white package dropped from the man’s shorts, Laster wrote. The two looked at the bag, then each other, and the detective took the man back inside to be searched while task force members retrieved the bag, according to the report.

It contained 14 tied-off plastic bags, each containing a chunk of an off-white substance, wrote Laster. According to the report, a field test of one of the bag’s contents was positive for cocaine.

A search of the subject turned up no additional contraband, but police did find a bag of “green vegetable matter,” according to the report. A common police description for marijuana, the report never mentions that drug by name, and no charges for it were issued.

Officers discovered a roll of bills in the pocket of a pair of swim trunks in the bedroom, wrote Laster, amounting to $1,180. This, the drugs, and the cell phones were confiscated, and a motion for the forfeiture of the phones and cash was filed in court.

Simmons is being held on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety. According to court documents, the amount of bail is due to the nature of the offenses, potential penalty, defendant’s record of convictions, his drug dependency or the illegal distribution of drugs, and failure to appear for scheduled court dates in the past.

His case is scheduled for a pretrial conference Aug. 26 in Greenfield District Court.

A first conviction for distribution of crack cocaine would result in maximum sentences of 10 years in state prison, two and a half years in county jail, a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, or both fines and incarceration.

Since its inception earlier this year, the task force has performed two raids at one Greenfield residence, both finding crack cocaine, according to police, and two at an Orange residence. One of the Orange raids resulted in the arrest of one man on heroin charges, the other resulted in the death of 23-year-old Corey Navarette, shot by state troopers executing an early morning search warrant on suspicion of a prescription narcotics dealing operation, according to statements from state police.

Reporter Diane Broncaccio contributed to this story.

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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