Lower bail denied for woman linked to alleged drug ring

  • Okan Caliskan/via Pixabay

  • Twelve people were arrested in December 2021 in connection with an alleged cocaine trafficking operation reportedly chiefly handled out of the former Dapper Dan’s Barbershop at 30 Chapman St. in Greenfield, pictured. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 1/18/2022 4:09:27 PM

GREENFIELD — A woman authorities say was involved in an alleged cocaine trafficking syndicate was denied her request for reduced bail on Tuesday, just four days after a judge denied the same request for two other involved suspects.

Heather Symanski, 31, of Greenfield, pleaded not guilty in Greenfield District Court last month to trafficking in cocaine over 18 grams and conspiracy to violate the drug laws, and was ordered held on $3,000 cash bail. The case has since been transferred to Franklin County Superior Court due to its severity.

Defense attorney Timothy Flynn addressed Judge Michael Callan and advocated for his client’s bail getting lowered to $1,000. He said Symanski is a lifelong Greenfield resident, with all of her ties being in the city.

“She has absolutely nowhere to go,” argued Flynn, who said he has represented Symanski in previous court cases.

Flynn said Symanski has a grandmother in Florida willing to pay $1,000 cash bail and she can reside with an uncle in Greenfield while the case works its way through the court system. He said his client is willing to remain drug-free and submit to random screenings.

“She’s a longtime addict,” Flynn noted. “She’s been an addict as long as I’ve known her.”

Flynn acknowledged his client was arraigned on Dec. 6 on a trafficking charge as a result of a multi-agency investigation into an alleged cocaine trafficking operation and was released on $500 cash bail days before a warrant was issued for her arrest in connection with the operation. Eleven other people face charges connected to the investigation, which involved a wiretap.

Chief Trial Counsel Jeremy Bucci, who is prosecuting these cases for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, said a look at Symanski’s record shows “there’s defaults at every turn.” He reiterated that the defendant was arrested days after being released on bail for a separate drug offense.

“I would say to the court that’s a pretty good assessment of how this is going to go for her,” Bucci said.

Also arrested last month were brothers Brandon Rice, of Hatfield, and Daniel Rice, of West Springfield, who are the alleged leaders of the cocaine trafficking organization. Daniel Rice owned and operated Dapper Dan’s Barbershop on Chapman Street in Greenfield, a location the DA’s office believes to be part of the alleged operation. Google now lists the barbershop as being permanently closed.

Others facing charges are Jason Nadeau, of Ludlow; David Caplice, Nathan Ortiz, Jason Byrd, Wayne Rockwood and Robert Blake, all of Greenfield; Rebekah Thompson, of Charlemont; David Gallegos and Jaimilee Bontempi, both of Deerfield; and Damek Ryan, of Montague. Nadeau and Ortiz both had their requests for lower bail denied in Franklin County Superior Courton Jan.14.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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