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Friday, April 11, 2008

Heroin seized in Waterville

WATERVILLE -- A Connecticut man who showed up Wednesday at District Court to face an assault charge was arrested by police in connection with heroin found last month near the Head Start school in the South End.

As an added bonus, police said, Darryl Copeland, 25, of Hartford, had 98 bags of heroin on him Wednesday, adding new, more serious charges.

Police had been waiting for Copeland to return, Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said.

Nine packets of Blue Magic heroin were found March 4 behind the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program building.

Police said the discovery could have saved the life of a child who might have found the pretty packets and tasted the contents.

"It didn't take us very long to discover that the night prior to that heroin being discovered, Waterville police had actually detained Mr. Copeland right there on that corner for suspicion of an assault that had taken place in a cab," Rumsey said.

Copeland was interviewed and issued a summons to appear in court related to a fight that allegedly took place in the cab that night.

"His court date was today," Rumsey said.

He said investigators "put two and two together" after realizing that police had spoken to Copeland near where the heroin had been found.

Police ran Copeland's name and found he had arrests and convictions in Connecticut in 2002 for possession and sale of heroin, Rumsey said. A search warrant for Copeland and the vehicle in which he was a passenger was secured and police waited for the court date to arrive.

"When he came back up to Waterville for his court appearance today, we were watching and waiting for him," Rumsey said. "When he left the courthouse this afternoon Detective Chris Paradis and Office Dwayne Cloutier and a number of other police officers tailed him in the vehicle he was in from the courthouse down to the South End."

The car was parked near The Chez on Water Street, where police converged on the vehicle and searched Copeland and the car.

"In his right front pocket officers located 10 bundles of heroin -- there was 98 bags of heroin -- they are usually bundled 10 bags to a bundle," he said. "All marked Blue Magic and all packaged the very same way as the heroin that was recovered by KVCAP, which is a very unusual method of packaging heroin. We haven't seen it like this before."

He said the heroin is packaged in small glassine bags and stamped Blue Magic, then are encapsulated in black plastic, almost like a bubble pack.

Each bag is about one-tenth of a gram and sells for $25-30. Ten bags make up one gram of heroin. Copeland is charged with aggravated trafficking in heroin, a Class A felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison for the 98 bags seized Wednesday. The charge is aggravated by the amount of heroin -- valued at about $3,000 -- and by its proximity to the Head Start school and the alternative education school on Silver Street, Rumsey said. He is charged additionally with possession of about three grams of cocaine and prescription pills. The charge related to the March 4 heroin case is Class B felony, furnishing drugs, punishable by up to 10 years. The charge is not aggravated further due to the relatively small quantity of drugs -- nine bags -- in that case, according to Rumsey said.

Bail was set at $31,500 cash.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said he was pleased with the resolution of the case. He said heroin found within 20 feet of any school touches a nerve.

"Officers Paradis and Cloutier have done a lot of work over the last month on this particular case and it all came together for them today," Massey said. "In addition, patrol officers were instrumental in being kind of the eyes and ears, relaying information to them as to what they were looking for -- how and who to identify when he came back to the city.

"What I like is the good, consistent effort to get drugs off the street, to arrest drug dealers and I think it's working," he said.

Copeland is scheduled to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court on July 8, but his initial appearance could be sometime this week.

Quoted from http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/news/local/4952592.html:

Heroin seized in Waterville

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