By Marjorie Nesin
---- — 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.
Detectives texted from the phone, posing as Verga, and Walquidea Perez of Lawrence agreed to meet up and sell a quantity of heroin. Officers set up surveillance outside of Verga’s home before Perez arrived with a McDonald’s bag containing 20 grams of heroin. Perez admitted to police that she brought the 20 grams to sell to Verga for $800 and had sold Verga heroin on two other occasions.
Police arrested Perez about 6 p.m. Sunday on a charge of trafficking heroin.
Later Sunday the detectives arrested a married couple who also messaged Verga’s seized phone with an offer to sell her Adderall for street sales in Gloucester. Police, posing again as Verga, took Yaritza Rivera, 33, up on her offer to sell the pills. Her husband Enrique Rivera, 34, arranged the meet-up.
Police arrested both after they approached the house. Officers Quinn and Conners walked up to the pair and asked what they were doing in the area. Enrique Rivera told police he was looking for Verga. The officers then found the Adderall in Yaritza’s purse, in the exact quantity and dose that she had described over text message.
Both face charges of possession of a Class C drug with intent to distribute. Enrique Rivera, who police found had an outstanding warrant from Chelsea District Court on a Class A drug charge and an “extensive record to include numerous drug violations,” was held on $25,000 bail.
Quinn and Conners also arrested a city man Friday evening on a cocaine charge.
The officers allegedly witnessed Derek M. Aptt, 20, selling an eighth of an ounce of cocaine, after receiving information that Aptt was dealing the Class B drug. Quinn and Conners arrested Aptt, who lives on Griffin Court, and seized the cocaine, $180 cash, and his cell phone.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or firstname.lastname@example.org.