HAVERHILL — Local police and federal agents have charged more people with street crimes in the troubled Acre neighborhood, and — for the second time in three weeks — they took an illegal gun off the streets.
Police said a New Hampshire man had a shotgun in his car and that he wasn’t licensed to carry the firearm. He was also in possession of illegal drugs, police said.
This is the latest action by police as they focus on the Mount Washington and Acre neighborhoods, where residents have been complaining about violent street crime.
On May 29 at 10:30 p.m., members of the Gang Task Force — which included Haverhill police, U.S. Marshals, ATF, FBI, Homeland Security/Immigration and members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department — were in the Acre section of the city when they observed a vehicle that appeared to have been in a recent accident. It had significant front-end damage and a damaged tire.
Police stopped the car at the intersection of 4th Avenue and Cedar Street and arrested the driver, Kyle Carpenter, 23, of Manchester, N.H.
Carpenter was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, operating under the influence of drugs, unlawful possession of a shotgun, unlicensed possession of ammunition and possession of a Class B substance.
Carpenter was arraigned on the charges on May 30 in Haverhill District Court, where bail was set at $1,500.
“This is the second gun arrest made by Task Force Officers within the last three weeks in which an illegal gun was taken off the streets,” said Detective Lt. Robert Pistone.
Task Force officers and the Haverhill Street Crimes Unit have made more than 25 arrests in the past several weeks in the Acre and Mount Washington sections of the city, and more than 100 arrests in the past three months, Pistone said.
Also arrested by Haverhill narcotics officers and Task Force Officers was Rafael Rojas, 55, of 36 Vine St.. Police charged Rojas with distribution of cocaine, distribution of cocaine subsequent offense, and a drug violation in a school zone.
Rojas was arraigned on the charges on May 30 and bail was set at $20,000, according to the Essex District Attorney’s Office. Both Carpenter and Rojas were given bail warnings, meaning if they are charged with another offense while their cases are pending they could be ordered held for up to 60 days without bail. Both were scheduled for pretrial hearings yesterday.
Federal agents have been helping Haverhill officers in this recent effort to combat crime, which came after a series of violent incidents in the inner-city area and complaints by neighbors about illegal activity.
A 2012 FBI violent crimes report, the latest available, says Haverhill ranks 15th highest among Massachusetts communities. That ranking, plus complaints from neighbors, kicked off the police focus on the Mount Washington and Acre areas of the city. Police Chief Alan DeNaro has said those areas are responsible for most of Haverhill’s street crime numbers.
DeNaro has said the city’s violent crime rate is down in the first four months of this year.
The City Council is pushing for Mayor James Fiorentini to make more money available in the next city budget to hire additional police officers to focus on street crime.