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February 17, 2014

Increase in heroin use brings sales near highway

Police: Pattern leads to series of arrests

HAVERHILL — An increase in heroin use in Haverhill has resulted in several arrests of both dealers and users, police said.

Police said factors for the rise in heroin use include the high price of narcotics such as Oxycontin and Oxycodone, coupled with a tight supply. That is leading some addicts to switch to heroin, which offers high supplies and relatively low prices, police said.

Police arrested several people last week, including a Lawrence man who was meeting up with his customers to sell them heroin in areas of Haverhill just off the highway.

Police said one of the man’s favorite spots to meet was Hunters Run Place, a quiet condominium complex off Lowell Avenue. The complex is just around the corner from Westgate Plaza and close to Exit 49 of Interstate 495. The man was arrested there last Tuesday afternoon and charged with selling heroin to a buyer.

Police said the man he also sold drugs last week to a customer he met on rural Whittier Road, not far from Exit 52 off I-495.

Police charged Reynaldo Roman, 34, of 105 Jackson St., Unit 61, Lawrence, with two counts of distributing a Class A drug (subsequent offense), possession to distribute a Class A drug (subsequent offense), conspiracy to violate the drug laws and failure to stop for police.

Roman was arraigned on the charges in Haverhill District Court, where Judge Patricia Dowling ordered him held on $50,000 cash bail. The judge also issued Roman a 60-day warning, meaning if he is charged with another offense while his case is pending, he could be ordered held up to 60 days without bail.

Police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson called it a case of a drug dealer arranging to meet his customers in areas of Haverhill close to the highway, a pattern Haverhill police have seen repeatedly.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, detectives learned of Roman’s activities through a “participating witness” who they arrested on Feb. 6 after observing a “hand to hand” drug transaction on Whittier Road, which is off Route 110 and a short distance from Exit 52 of I-495.

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