EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 18, 2012

Sheriff's office, local police conduct warrant sweep

By Jo-Anne MacKenzie jmackenzie@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Danville resident Paul Vennochi, 37, was one of 17 people who received unwelcome visits Monday morning from local law enforcement officials.

The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Marshal Service and officers from five local police departments conducted a sweep for people wanted on electronic bench warrants issued by local circuit courts.

The multi-agency effort started at 5:30 a.m. and resulted in 17 arrests, according to Sheriff Michael Downing.

“These are people that have been wanted for a while,” Downing said. “They have been trying to avoid apprehension.”

But the success of the sweep Monday barely made a dent in the number of outstanding warrants.

His department has 611 active criminal warrants, most for felony charges, and 177 civil warrants from Superior Court, Downing said.

“We usually do the (sweeps) every couple of months,” he said. “We concentrate on certain areas of the county.”

On Monday, officers from Raymond, Epping, Exeter, Danville and Newmarket police departments joined the sheriff’s department and the marshal’s service in the effort, which concentrated on residents of Raymond, Epping, Newmarket, Brentwood, Exeter, Fremont and Danville.

While they did find 17 wanted people, Downing said, there were more they didn’t find.

“We will continue to look for the others,” he said.

Of those arrested, Vennochi was the only local resident. He had a warrant for a charge of possession of a controlled narcotic. He was later released on $2,000 cash bail.

It wasn’t Vennochi’s first arrest on drug charges. In March, he was arrested at Catholic Medical Center Hospital in Manchester by New Hampshire State Police.

That arrest followed a two-month investigation and resulted in 11 counts of uttering a forged prescription, police said. He was indicted on those charges in May.

Also in May, Vennochi and his wife were arrested with 14 others in a day-long drug sweep in Lawrence. He was charged with being knowingly present where heroin was kept.

In a separate case, Vennochi was convicted of drug possession in July.

The effort Monday was routine, Downing said, and part of his department’s ongoing effort to locate people being sought by police.

“It’s always a success when you find someone who’s been trying to avoid the law and prosecution. We work very hard,” Downing said. “This is just one day, but we’re out there every day trying to find these individuals.”