GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 9, 2008

'Ninja' faces drug, weapons charges

By Jonathan L'Ecuyer

ROCKPORT — A Rockport man who reportedly dressed up as a "ninja," authorities say, has been arrested on multiple drug and weapon charges after police — tipped off by a request for a restraining order against the man — found numerous samurai swords, Chinese throwing stars and drug-related materials inside his Smith Road apartment.

Nicholas P. Dragonas of 34 Smith Road was arrested after police officers executed a search warrant obtained from Gloucester District Court. Police applied for the search warrant based on information provided to them by an informant who had sought a restraining order against Dragonas on Sept. 30.

Sgts. Mark Schmink and Robert Tibert, together with Patrolmen Michael Marino, Mark Rowe and Daniel Mahoney, arrived at Dragonas' apartment just as the 34-year-old was entering a vehicle with a woman to leave the residence. Rowe stopped the vehicle on Smith Road and Dragonas was asked to step out.

According to the police report, Dragonas "reeked of alcohol and burnt marijuana" upon exiting the car. Police informed him they had a search warrant for his home and walked him back to the residence. They asked him for his cooperation and whether there was anything in the house that might be of concern.

Police said Dragonas stated there was "a bag of smoke (marijuana) in the house with a couple of grams in it — and that was it."

Police quickly discovered they were dealing with much more than a lone bag of marijuana.

Upon entering the home, which police noted also reeked of burnt marijuana, they found numerous weapons, including swords, knives, a blow gun, a hunting bow, sling shot and Chinese throwing stars — as well as homemade version of Mace, explosives and materials used to smoke and grow marijuana.

"I have never seen anything like that," Schmink said yesterday. "We were very surprised at the amount of everything that was found."

Police charged Dragonas with possession of marijuana, possession of hashish, possession to manufacture marijuana, possession of ammunition (two rounds), possession of chemical propellant (homemade mace), carrying a dangerous weapon (throwing stars), unlawful possession of fireworks (firecrackers, bottle rockets, M-80s), and receiving stolen property — a street sign.

Schmink said it was not illegal for Dragonas to have the weapons in his home, but it was illegal for him to carry them in public.

According to the report, the informant told police Dragonas would spy on kids at the Headlands while dressed in a "ninja" outfit. The outfit held handcuffs, throwing stars and contained an earpiece connected to a police scanner, authorities said.

Police also discovered an electronic device near the driveway which would alert those inside that someone entered the property, and outdoor marijuana plots.

The informant indicated Dragonas had been growing "increasingly despondent" in recent months. According to police, Dragonas would often sit in front of his television screen and sharpen his swords.

Dragonas has lived in Rockport for three years and, until Friday, had no criminal record. The only time police had dealt with him in the past was for a parking ticket.

Schmink said Dragonas was released on personal recognizance, but as a result of the arrest, must vacate the apartment he shares with his wife and infant child by Oct. 31.

"He was released," Schmink said, "but we feel better because everything was taken out (of the home), secured, and the neighborhood is safe again."

Jonathan L'Ecuyer can be reached at jlecuyer@gloucestertimes.com.

Items seized from Dragonas' home

One bag of marijuana, three containers containing marijuana leaves, one cup full of stems and seeds, numerous containers containing marijuana seeds for cultivation, grow lights, measuring scale, spray bottles, cultivation chemicals, fertilizer, literature on cultivating marijuana, dead marijuana plants on the upstairs porch, 15 smoking devices (bongs and pipes) as well as rolling papers, scraping tools and roach clips for smoking that all contained marijuana resin and residue.

Hashish.

Night vision goggles.

Two rounds of ammunition and gun powder, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and M-80's.

Chinese throwing stars (many of these were found in the pockets of a black jacket Nicholas P. Dragonas is stated to wear publicly in town during his "Ninja adventures and on Halloween"). Also contained in the jacket were handcuffs and an earpiece for the police scanner the informant removed from the residence.

Homemade chemical propellant (ground up cayenne pepper to use as Mace)

A street sign

Twelve Samurai swords and miscellaneous knives (which were located "carelessly" all over the house), a sling shot wrist rocket with pellets, blow gun with darts, nunchaku and a hunting bow.

Source: Rockport Police Department report