EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 17, 2014

Feds help make 70 arrests in 60 days

Gang cops arrest man with loaded gun in street

By Bill Cantwell

---- — HAVERHILL — Police cracking down on the Mount Washington area arrested several people this week, including a young man who officers said had a loaded gun in his pocket.

Federal agents are helping Haverhill officers in the effort, which came after a series of violent incidents in the inner-city area and complaints by neighbors about illegal activity.

Police said that on Thursday just after 7:30 p.m., members of the Gang Task Force were working in the area of Baldwin Street, where neighbors have made many complaints about street crime. The Gang Task Force has local officers and federal agents.

Task force members saw two men leave a Baldwin Street building which was under surveillance and go to Shepherd Street, where they met up with another man, police said.

The officers approached the three men and discovered that one of them had a loaded handgun in his pocket, police said.

Police arrested Ryan Young, 21 of 24 Atwood Road. He is charged with possession of a firearm without a license and possession of ammunition without a license.

Gang Task Force members involved in the arrest included three Haverhill officers — Lt. Robert Pistone and officers John Spero and Gary Melanson — and an FBI special agent, according to a release from police.

In the release, Pistone said police also made six other arrests in that area Thursday night. Officers focusing on the Mount Washington and Acre inner-city areas have made 70 arrests in the last 60 days, according to the release.

“Several Federal, State, and County law enforcement agencies have made a significant commitment to assisting the Haverhill Police in combating the illegal narcotics, guns, and associated violent crimes in the city,’’ Pistone said in the release.

He also said police are committed to arresting people carrying weapons.

“The criminals in Haverhill can expect to see a continued heavy presence of Gang task Force members and street crimes officers for the long term, where individuals like Ryan Young found illegally carrying firearms will be prosecuted to the full extent that state and federal laws allow,’’ Pistone said in the release.

A 2012 FBI violent crimes report, the latest available, says Haverhill ranks 15th highest among Massachusetts communities. That ranking, plus complaints from neighbors, kicked off the police focus on the Mount Washington and Acre areas of the city. Police Chief Alan DeNaro has said those areas are responsible for most of Haverhill’s street crime numbers.

DeNaro has said the city’s violent crime rate is down in the first four months of this year.

The City Council is pushing for Mayor James Fiorentini to make more money available in the next city budget to hire additional police officers to focus on street crime.

Police said these other people were arrested Thursday by the task force: Leon Kendrick, 28, 18 Mulberry St., possession of heroin, disorderly conduct following a foot pursuit; Anthony Matkivich, 24 231 Washington St., drinking in public, disorderly conduct; Elias Sanchez, 18, 12 Lapierre St., receiving stolen property, threats, assault, disturbing the peace; Elyse Ruth, 27, 38 5th Ave., possession class A and B substances with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, cocaine trafficking, heroin trafficking; Angel Gomez, 27, 37 Cedar St., possession of a firearm without being licensed, defacing a serial number on a firearm, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, possession of a class D substance; Nathan Whittier, 22, 23 Warren St., disorderly conduct, resisting arrest.