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February 25, 2014

Police: Kids in car watch parents sell drugs

Officers calm children during arrests in sting operation

GROVELAND — Police say a married couple from Newburyport who came to town to sell prescription pain killers said they were having financial problems and needed to earn some extra money.

When they came to Groveland on Saturday to sell pills in a sting operation arranged by police, they had four young children in the back seat of their mini-van, police said.

While police were arresting the couple, other officers were speaking calmly to the children in an effort to prevent emotional distress.

“It’s concerning and disturbing that this couple were so comfortable doing this illegal business with children in the car witnessing the activity,” said police Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen.

Police charged Paul Robitaille, 37, and Jamie Robitaille, 31, both of 18 Franklin St., Newburyport, each with two counts of possession of Class C drugs with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate the drug laws.

Police said the couple’s three children, two boys and a girl ages 6 to 14, along with an 11-year-old nephew were in the back seats of the family’s Dodge Caravan when they sold prescription pain pills to an undercover officer.

“We’re looking to combat drugs coming into Groveland, but we never expected to see four young people in a car,” Gillen said.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, Groveland Detective James Morton was investigating drug-related cases in that town when early this month he was informed by a confidential source about a husband and wife who were selling prescription pills for cash. The source said that in the past he had bought some of the pills from the couple, specifically Fioricet and Tramadol.

Morton, working undercover, arranged for the informant to meet the couple in the Pines Recreational Area on Saturday. The informant contacted Jamie Robitallie to say he was bringing along a friend who was interested in buying some pills.

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