, Gloucester, MA

March 6, 2013

City couple nabbed in undercover bust

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — GLOUCESTER — A Maplewood Avenue man is under arrest and his reputed girlfriend is facing criminal complaints after Gloucester Police carried out an investigation and undercover drug probe spanning months, according to a city police report.

Police say that Michael Barry, 52, and Brieann Martell, 33, were selling Percocet and Vicodin in the area of Maplewood Avenue, where they live with their 3-year-old daughter, in a house owned by Martell’s grandmother.

As a result of the investigation, Barry was arrested and is being charged with three counts of distribution of a Class B narcotic; the pills. Three criminal complaints are also being sought against Martell, police said.

Barry was arrested outside of their Maplewood Avenue apartment on Sunday just after noon. After his apprehension, Barry was told he was under investigation for several months. Police believed more pills were inside the apartment, and Barry agreed to accompany police back to his residence, the report states.

According to police, Barry and Martell said they do not have any illegal prescription medication in the house; both Brieann Martell and her grandmother gave consent to search the house.

The report states that Martell turned over 98 hydrocodone pills — a generic form of Vicodin — found in the house. Martell said the quantity of 180 pills was prescribed for her, though she admitted the pills were organized for resale, according to police.

The pills turned over by Martell were located in a plastic case under her daughter’s bed, covered under some blankets.

Police also found drug paraphernalia including pill grinders, pipes and two empty bottles of Oxycodone and Alprazolam which were prescribed to Barry.

The report states Martell was cooperative with police, telling them the two have been selling the drugs for at least two years to supplement their income — as Barry is unemployed. Martell indicated the 180 pill prescription was worth about $900, she refilled and sold the entire bottle each month. In addition, she said Barry has been selling Percocet, without a prescription, for at least as long as she has, if not longer.

Police also seized about $115, believed to be profits from drug sales.

The report indicates that, while police were speaking with Martell, a known heroin user called a cellphone belonging to Barry. The caller then proceeded to solicit heroin from someone he believed to be Barry.

As required, the state Department of Children and Family services was notified. Police also notified the Pathways for Children in Gloucester, as Martell works part time at the facility.

Caroline Haines, the chief operating officer for the facility, said she could not comment about Martell’s status as an employee. Haines did say that each employee is put through the proper screening methods. Staff members go through background checks, state Department of Children and Families report checks and three references are required.

She said these checks are also done periodically throughout an employee’s time at the facility. Additionally, Haines said, the code of conduct includes stipulations about criminal activity, depending on the nature and the outcome of the charge.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at