By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT — A Woodman Way man with connections to those arrested Thursday in a series of drug raids conducted by local and Salisbury police was himself arrested two days later for allegedly selling marijuana, according to court records.
In addition to marijuana possession with intent to distribute, Francisco Rivera, 33, of 18 Woodman Way, No. 9, was charged with marijuana possession, two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Rivera was arraigned in Newburyport District Court yesterday and is being held on $2,500 cash bail pending a pretrial hearing scheduled for Dec. 13.
According to police, the charges stem from two separate incidents. The first took place Thursday afternoon as police officers, armed with a search warrant, conducted a raid of his apartment. The raid was one of many conducted by local and Salisbury police in connection with a massive drug dealing enterprise based out of a fake storefront at 50 Elm St. in Salisbury, a storage locker at a facility at Cross Roads Plaza and a residence at 232 Low St. in Newburyport.
The fake storefront in Salisbury was made to resemble a thrift store, and was just around the corner from a legitimate thrift shop, Mystery Treasures, which is in no way connected to this case.
Among those arrested by Salisbury police was Byron Lind, 36, 232 Low St., Newburyport, who was termed “the kingpin” of the drug operation by an Essex County prosecutor. Lind was charged on multiple counts of distributing class A drugs (opiates and heroin), distribution of counterfeit drugs and conspiracy to distribute drugs, with the possibility of additional charges being added.
Also arrested by Salisbury police on Thursday was Harley Fisher, 27, 53 Market St., Amesbury, taken into custody on outstanding warrants for probation violations on previous convictions on drug possession and felony larceny. Lawrence Crocker, 23, 21 Cove St., Derry, N.H., was also arrested by Salisbury police after being found at the 50 Elm St. address when they arrived.
Arrested by Newburyport police were John Parks, 22, 8 Atlantic Ave., Amesbury, who was charged with two counts of sale of class A drugs and one of conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Maria Christina Ellison, 35, who lives at Rivera’s apartment, was also arrested. She was charged with two counts of sale of class A drugs and one of conspiracy to violate the drug laws. During their raid of Rivera’s apartment, police found a red coffee can filled with 4 grams of marijuana, hundreds of plastic baggies and plastic containers. A digital scale was found in his bedroom. A set of brass knuckles and a doubled-edged knife were also found inside the apartment, according to court records.
Two days later, police were called to a disturbance outside Rivera’s Woodman Way apartment around 6:40 p.m. Upon their arrival, police found a large crowd gathered in a parking lot. Members of the crowd reported that Rivera had threatened to get a gun and shoot everyone there. Moments later, a woman came out of a back door and said Rivera and another man were fighting in a hallway, according to police.
Officers Eric Marshall, Joshua Tierney and Gregory Whitney ran inside to find Rivera and another man fighting at the bottom of steps leading to the basement. Two firearms were close by. The three officers managed to tackle, separate and then handcuff the two men. The firearms, one silver and another black, turned out to be pellet guns.
Upon talking to witnesses and the two alleged combatants, police determined that Rivera was the aggressor. During questioning, Rivera told police that the other man had “got in his face,” prompting him to attack him, according to Tierney’s police report.