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August 27, 2013

Police arrest 5, seize cash and drugs

City police arrested five people on drug charges ranging from trafficking to possession over the weekend, seizing quantities of heroin, cocaine and Adderall.

“We have no tolerance for drug dealers in the city, and the administration (Mayor Carolyn Kirk) has been supportive of our new efforts to deal with this issue,” police chief Leonard Campanello said.

Detective Tom Quinn and Sgt. Sean Conners worked jointly on the investigation, with most of the arrests connecting back to the first in the chain.

The detectives’ investigation first led them to suspect Mariah L. Verga, an 18-year-old who lives at a Haven Terrace residence, of selling narcotics in connection with her jailed boyfriend.

Police and a Gloucester police K-9 searched the Haven Terrace residence where Verga lives with her father Friday about 10:38 a.m., and turned up heroin, baggies, and price sheets for the drug’s sale. Officers also found “numerous” letters sent from a Middleton Jail address and signed by Verga’s boyfriend, Wilfred Couchon, containing instructions on how to sell heroin, threats in response to her confusion, and warnings that she should write in code because the jail checks incoming mail.

Officers arrested Verga, charging her with heroin possession and stating their belief that she was “selling drugs at the direction of her boyfriend.” Verga later confessed that she was selling the heroin for Couchon while he was jailed, police said.

In a letter dated Aug. 17, Couchon wrote urging Verga to carefully follow his instructions for selling the Class A drug.

“Please babe do as I ask hun, this is a serious product we’re messing with and it’s very good money,” Couchon wrote.

Police seized “a small knotted plastic bag” of heroin and Verga’s cellular phone. On the phone the detectives found a phone number for a Lawrence woman who officers suspected was providing the heroin to Verga in large quantities.

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