By Angeljean Chiaramida
---- — NEWBURYPORT— A Newburyport man has been ordered held on a $1 million surety/$100,000 cash bail, after being termed “the kingpin,” among those arrested Thursday, in a multi-agency drug raid — the culmination of months of investigative work.
Arraigned yesterday at Newburyport District Court, Byron Lind, 36, 232 Low St., Newburyport, faced immediate charges on multiple counts of distributing class A drugs (opiates and heroin), distribution of counterfeit drugs, and conspiracy to distribute drugs, with the promise by Assistant District Attorney Maura Bailey that more serious charges related to drug trafficking would be coming on Tuesday.
Although Lind’s attorney, Andrew Benson, attempted to lower the high bail requested by Bailey, Judge Peter Doyle complied with Bailey’s request on $100,000 cash or $1 million surety bail.
Also arraigned yesterday was Maria Christina Ellison, 35, who lives at an apartment at 18 Woodman Way, Newburyport, and charged with two counts of sale of class A drugs and one of conspiracy to violate the drug laws. Bailey alleged that Ellison is Lind’s girlfriend and that she is involved in his alleged illegal drug business and was present where drugs were sold. Ellison was ordered held on $200,000 surety or $20,000 cash bail.
John Parks, 22, 8 Atlantic Ave., Amesbury, was also charged with two counts of sale of class A drugs and one of conspiracy to violate drug laws. He was ordered held on $100,000 surety or $10,000 cash bail.
During the arraignment, Bailey supplied details on the months-long, joint investigation by Salisbury and Newburyport police into an alleged “high-level drug distribution and sales” ring, that she said functioned out of two locations in Salisbury and two in Newburyport.
Flipping through pages of notes detailing the progress of the investigation which began in February, Bailey shared information police in Salisbury and Newburyport received about alleged drug distribution and sales of hundreds of oxycodone 30 milligram tablets and counterfeit drug tablets, believed to be laced with heroin.
The activities were run out of a fake thrift shop at 50 Elm Street in Salisbury, Bailey said, as well as out of storage facilities located at Cross Roads Plaza in Salisbury, both of which police squads from a 30-member task force raided on Thursday.
According to Bailey, the purchase of oxycodone tablets also took place and were recorded in undercover stings at an apartment at 18 Woodman Way in Newburyport, which police raided on Thursday, along with another at 232 Low St.
Bailey said police are still cataloging the evidence confiscated Thursday, which includes 200 to 300 tablets of class A substances (opiates and heroin), as well as about $7,000 in cash and distribution paraphernalia, including scales and packaging supplies.
Salisbury Detective Sgt. Anthony King estimated the street value of the drugs seized was about $9,000, Bailey said. King and Newburyport officer Joshua Tierney led the combined investigative team for both communities.
Further charges of drug trafficking are in process of being filed against Lind, Bailey said, an indicator of the large scale of the alleged drug distribution activities.
The defendants are expected back in court for pretrial hearings in early December.
Also arrested on Thursday was Harley Fisher, 27, 53 Market St., Amesbury. Taken into custody on outstanding warrants for probation violations on previous convictions on drug possession and felony larceny, yesterday Doyle revoked Fisher’s probation, ordering him committed to the house of correction for six months for violating the terms of his probation.
Lawrence Crocker, 23, 21 Cove St., Derry, N.H., was also arrested by Salisbury police after being found at the 50 Elm Street address when they arrived. He was taken into custody for being a fugitive from justice on outstanding warrants in New Hampshire, including theft from a building. Yesterday, Crocker waived extradition, and New Hampshire law enforcement authorities were expected to pick him up for return to the state yesterday.