EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 4, 2014

Lawrence drug unit seizes cocaine, cash and handgun

LAWRENCE — An investigation by the Police Department’s Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit yesterday led to the discovery of cocaine, more than $600 in cash, a Cobra .380-caliber handgun and ammunition kept in a woman’s dresser in a Boxford Street apartment.

The narcotics unit received a tip from the Haverhill Police Department about a possible drug source living in Lawrence, Detective David J. Moynihan Jr. wrote in his report. The probe ended with the arrest of a Lawrence man and his girlfriend, who allowed police to search her bedroom for drugs, according to police.

Charged were:

Kenneth Soto, 20, of Railroad Street, distribution of cocaine, distribution of cocaine in a school zone, trafficking in cocaine of more than 18 grams, trafficking in cocaine of more than 18 grams in a school zone, unlawful possession of ammunition, unlawful possession of a firearm, improper storage of a firearm and use of a motor vehicle without authorization.

Charlene Rios, 20, of Boxford Street, trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in cocaine in a school zone, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and improper storage of a firearm.

Police arrested Soto after an alleged drug transaction on Andover Street. They seized $80 in cash from the side of the driver’s seat. Soto told police the 1993 Nissan Altima he was driving belonged to his girlfriend.

Rios and her mother allowed detectives into their Boxford Street apartment and denied knowledge or involvement in Soto’s drug dealing, according to Moynihan.

Police found woman’s clothing in the dresser that contained the cocaine, cash and gun.

In an unrelated incident Tuesday, police recovered a Beretta .25-caliber handgun and several rounds of ammunition during the arrest of a city man sought on several outstanding arrest warrants. Val Salas, 23, of Newbury Street, was charged with unlawful possession of ammunition, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of unauthorized prescription drugs and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

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