EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 23, 2013

Drug dealer or troubled family man?

Neighbors' complaints lead to arrest, debate in court

HAVERHILL — Police said he’s a high-level drug dealer.

His lawyer called him a family man with a wife and two children, and said he sold drugs only to support his own heroin habit.

A judge listened to the evidence and ordered Rafael Torres, 57, held on $10,000 cash bail.

Torres, of 53 Wilson St., was arrested after numerous complaints to police about possible drug dealing in the neighborhood where he lives. Police charged him with distribution of heroin and conspiracy to violate the drug laws.

“This is a serious (drug) distribution case,” Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo said during Torres’ arraignment last week in Haverhill District Court.

Wilson Street is between Washington and River streets, just west of downtown.

DePaulo told the court that Torres has served time in the past for drug offenses.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Sholds said detectives believe Torres is a high-level street dealer in the city and asked that he be held on $10,000 cash bail, which the judge granted.

According to a police report, after police seized Torres’ cell phone it rang more than 30 times within a two-hour period. Police said it was an indication of just how busy Torres was in his illegal activity.

Reading from a police report, Sholds said Torres told arresting officers that he wasn’t a dealer and that “I just do this to support my habit. I am a heroin addict.”

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, the Haverhill Police Narcotics Unit had received several neighborhood complaints of a blonde woman with a tattoo on her neck meeting a man in an old red pickup truck at the intersection of Chick Avenue and Davis Street. They said the woman would get into the truck and, after driving around the block, she would get out.

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