NEWBURYPORT — A court officer had to separate an Amesbury woman and her boyfriend yesterday as they were being arraigned on cocaine trafficking and other drug charges following their arrest Saturday morning inside her Powderhouse Court residence.
Sandra Magrath, 42, and Jesus Ruiz, 32, both of 29 Powderhouse Court, were charged with heroin distribution, cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to violate drug laws following the raid at their residence, off Whitehall Road near the South Hampton border. Both were ordered held on $50,000 cash bail for the new charges but held without bail due to older charges. They are due back in court April 25 for pretrial hearings.
The duo were arrested after local officers and a regional SWAT team, armed with a search warrant and arrest warrants, stormed the residence. According to police, 22 grams of cocaine, separated into 41 plastic baggies intended for sale, were found.
Yesterday inside Newburyport District Court, Ruiz became highly agitated as Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte read excerpts from Amesbury Detective Sean Leary’s search warrant application.
According to Leary’s report, Ruiz called police wanting to get away from Magrath and was willing to act as an informant. What followed in the nearly nine-page application was a recap of several drug purchases between the defendants and undercover police officers.
Belmonte described a March 19, 2014 conversation in which Ruiz told police Magrath was traveling to Lawrence to pick up 10 fingers of heroin, a finger representing 10 grams of heroin, and stated Magrath picked up 10 fingers every two days, paying $500 for each finger.
Eight days later, Leary received another call from Ruiz, who said that Magrath picked up another 12 fingers of heroin. He told police he wanted to set her up and would work with an undercover police officer to arrange buys with Magrath.
The next day undercover police officers began conducting a series of heroin purchases with Magrath and Ruiz lasting into early April. One such buy took place March 28, in the parking lot of Tom’s Discount in Salisbury, when an undercover officer purchased two $40 bags of heroin from Magrath.