Addiction in Franklin County

Greenfield man arrested in Springfield heroin raid

Police say suspects were running drug delivery service

SPRINGFIELD — Police arrested a Greenfield man and two others who they say ran a Western Massachusetts heroin delivery service.

Jean Rivera, 22, of 4 Armory St., Greenfield, was arrested on charges of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm without a license, and receiving stolen property.

Jose Velasquez, 24, and Eva-Berrios Diaz, 27, both of 25 Bartlett St., Springfield, were also arrested on similar charges. All were arraigned in Springfield District Court Wednesday.

The three used rental cars to deliver to users in western Massachusetts, according to Sgt. John Delaney. Delaney said the extent of the alleged delivery network was unknown, but that “it’s possible” that it reached into Franklin County.

Springfield police investigated the alleged delivery ring for a month before executing a search warrant at 25 Bartlett St. Tuesday afternoon. Delaney said Rivera and another male were observed returning from drug transactions during the investigation, which involved surveillance of the apartment.

In the Bartlett Street apartment, police found 50 bags of heroin, a 12-gauge Mossberg 88 shotgun, $578 cash and a small amount of marijuana, said Delaney. The heroin was packaged in green bags, Delaney said.

The shotgun was reported stolen in a 2010 break-in on Pelham Street in Springfield.

Rivera’s home address has been at the center of many police calls. Police have responded to everything from large fights to drug activity at the 4 Armory St. apartment building.

In August 2013, police raided an apartment at 4 Armory St., and arrested Rion Latta on charges of trafficking in crack cocaine. In addition to 37 grams of crack, electronic scales, packing materials and $13,000 cash were seized in the raid, according to Greenfield Detective Lt. Daniel McCarthy.

Heroin highway

Rental cars have been used by alleged dealers in other recent heroin arrests.

In October of 2013, state police arrested two Connecticut men, James Burnes Jr., 33, and Vincent C. Paris, 37, on heroin trafficking charges. The two were found with more than 600 bags of heroin, after troopers pulled over a rental car speeding north on Interstate 91 in Greenfield, according to trooper Nicholas Pellegrino. Pellegrino said state police had reason to believe the two made regular trips to buy and sell heroin.

In November 2013, state troopers in Greenfield arrested Andrew Phillips, 36, of Naples, Fla., on charges including possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. That arrest also involved a rental car speeding north on the interstate.

An arrest report by trooper Jonathan O’Loughlin stated that 12 grams of heroin were found in 49 bags in the car, as well as two grams of cocaine, 38 pills of prescription painkiller hydrocodone, 48 empty heroin bags and several syringes.

Phillips told troopers that he bought the heroin from a source known to him in the Holyoke/Springfield area, and said he was going to visit someone in Gill, O’Loughlin wrote.

The interstate has been the scene of several other heroin arrests in the last year. Some law enforcement professionals have dubbed it the “heroin highway,” for its use by traffickers bringing drugs from Springfield, Connecticut and other points south to Franklin County, Vermont, New Hampshire and other places for resale.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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