By Dave Rogers
---- — AMESBURY — The leader of what local police call an elaborate heroin distribution ring with ties to both Salisbury and Lawrence is out on bail following his arraignment yesterday in Newburyport District Court.
Dana Abrahams, 24, of 164 Whitehall Road, B1A10, was arrested Friday afternoon in his residence at British Colonial Apartments following a heavily armed raid by local police and SWAT team members from the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council. Also arrested at the scene was Abrahams’ girlfriend, Kimi Kelley, 23, who lives at the same address.
“He’s been a major supplier for the area,” Amesbury police Lt. Jeffrey Worthen said earlier, referring to Abrahams. “I’m very pleased with the arrest on these charges. I think it will put a dent in the sales of heroin in the area.”
Both Abrahams and Kelley were arraigned yesterday on charges of possession of heroin to distribute, conspiracy to violate the controlled substance law, being present where heroin is kept, two counts of possession of a class B substance (methadone and Suboxone) and possession of fireworks. They are expected back in court on Feb. 25 for pretrial hearings. While Kelley was released on her own recognizance, Abrahams is being held on $2,500 cash bail, which was posted by Kelley yesterday.
At the same time police were storming Abrahams’ apartment Friday, 18 police officers, detectives and a state police K9 unit burst into an apartment complex on Central Avenue in Salisbury, arresting two suspects and issuing a summons against a third.
Brian Maguire, 23, of Central Avenue, and Dale Sullivan, 40, of Oakland Street in Amesbury, were charged with possession of class A and class D substances. Found in at least one of the apartments were prescription drugs, heroin, drug packaging and needles.
Brian Birmingham, 24, also of Central Avenue, was issued a summons on a charge of possession of a class D substance with intent to distribute. Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler said police found cellophane bags, smoking pipes with marijuana residue, a long glass bong, a vaporizer and tweezers inside Birmingham’s apartment.
Maguire and Sullivan were arraigned yesterday and are expected back in court on March 6 for pretrial hearings. Both posted $250 bail and are out awaiting their next court appearances.
Worthen said the raids took place around 5 p.m. Friday after law enforcement officials in both communities had obtained a search warrant following months of investigation. A heavily armed SWAT team was called in to assist Amesbury officials based on information Abrahams possessed weapons.
Among the items found in Abrahams’ apartment were machetes, bats, knives, digital scales, packaging supplies, about $6,000 in cash and two grams of heroin, according to police.
Both Worthen and Fowler said the drug activities going on at both addresses were related and that the departments were working together for an extended time. “We knew the two locations were connected,” Fowler said.
The raids were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety. Newburyport police were also involved with the arrests and the investigations, according to police.
According to the report of Amesbury police officer Matthew Cunningham, Abrahams had been operating an extensive and profitable drug-selling business out of his British Colonial Apartments residence for at least several months. The suspect would pay people either in cash or drugs to work with him.
Abrahams received many rides to Lawrence, where he would purchase large amounts of heroin. The drugs would then be split up at his apartment and whatever wasn’t kept for his or his girlfriend’s personal use would be transported to the Central Avenue apartment in Salisbury. There, it was packaged and sold by Maguire and Sullivan, according to police.
Most of the heroin was sold to customers in Amesbury, Salisbury, Newburyport, with other customers coming from Rowley, Merrimac, Newbury, Byfield and Seabrook. Prices and amounts varied, but according to police, .02 grams of heroin was sold in red bags for $20 and .03 grams was sold in blue bags for $30. A clear bag held .04 grams of heroin and sold for $40 while orange bags containing .05 grams of heroin sold for $50, according to Cunningham’s report.
A criminal records check into Abrahams showed several charges, including possession of a firearm without an FID card, assault and battery and violating a restraining order. The check also shows that Abrahams was involved in numerous fights, disturbances and restraining order violations from the same apartment, according to police.
On Nov. 25, police responded to an incident where several people wearing masks burst into Abrahams’ apartment, pistol-whipped him and stole a large amount of cash. The home invasion is believed to have been conducted by a drug associate of Abrahams, according to police.