NEWBURYPORT — Well before 27-year-old Katie Sullivan was arrested by local police for allegedly selling heroin across the city to customers, including an undercover police officer, the Merrimac resident had been in and out of the legal system for years. Court documents show that Sullivan is a part of a network of alleged drug dealers and addicts who bounce around several communities in between arrests and convictions.
Records also show how efforts by the state to rehabilitate Sullivan have failed, leading her to pick up where she had left off, only this time in a different community.
Sullivan and Thomas E. Dastous, 30, both of 56 East Main St., No. 2, Merrimac, were arrested Oct. 1 by Newburyport police in Merrimac and charged with heroin distribution, heroin possession, conspiracy to violate the drug law and selling drugs near a school or park. They were arraigned in Newburyport District Court hours later and are due back in court today for pretrial hearings.
Since January, Sullivan has been arrested at least three times by local, Amesbury and Salisbury police. In January, she was arrested by Amesbury police for selling heroin in her apartment and in June sentenced to 18 months behind bars. But Sullivan avoided jail time, as the sentence was suspended for 18 months in an effort to get her clean. In September, Sullivan was arrested by Salisbury police on two previous warrants based on probation violations stemming from January’s arrest.
Before moving to Merrimac earlier this year, Sullivan lived at the British Colonial Apartments off Whitehall Road in Amesbury, where she was arrested in January for selling heroin out of her apartment. A vivid and lengthy police report obtained at Newburyport District Court shows that Sullivan was not only pregnant at the time of her arrest but also serving as a drug runner for a 24-year-old Amesbury dealer living in the same apartment complex.
Her supplier, Dana Abrahams, was arrested three weeks later inside his apartment by Amesbury police along with a regional SWAT team. He was charged with four counts of receiving stolen property and possession with intent to distribute heroin, being present where heroin is kept, two counts of possession of class B, conspiracy to violate drug laws and unlawful possession of fireworks.
Following his arrest in January, Abrahams posted $2,500 cash bail and is due back in court Nov. 26 for motions, according to an Essex County District Attorney spokeswoman.
At the time of his arrest, Amesbury police called him a major heroin supplier for the region. Months earlier, Abrahams had been ambushed by five masked men armed with handguns. The men 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.
Abraham’s father, Dana Abrahams Sr., was arrested by Salisbury police hours after Sullivan and Dastous were picked up, in connection to heroin sales across the area.
According to Amesbury police, Abrahams Jr. 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 Jr. 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 then-girlfriend’s personal use would be transported to a Central Avenue apartment in Salisbury. Most of the heroin was sold to customers in Amesbury, Salisbury, Newburyport, with other customers coming from Rowley, Merrimac, Newbury, Byfield and Seabrook.
Fearing for her life
According to court records, Sullivan served as a runner for Abrahams Jr. and during her arrest in January told police heroin found in her apartment belonged to Abrahams Jr. She told police the heroin was to be sold to customers that day and if something went wrong, Abrahams Jr. would kill her.
“She told us that even if we arrest Dana, there would be others on the street who would get her. She appeared genuinely in fear of her life,” Amesbury police officer David Noyes wrote in his report.
Sullivan’s arrest in January came after police responded to a call of a fight in progress at her apartment. When let in by Sullivan’s roommate, police quickly noticed several drug-related items including a glass pipe, baggies with heroin residue, syringes, cotton balls, wire, Q-tips and other items related to heroin use. A bleeding needle mark was quickly spotted on her roommate’s right arm, according to Noyes’ report.
Entering the bedroom, police broke up an argument between Sullivan and her boyfriend. More drug paraphernalia, including a bloody paper towel, a syringe, a spoon with burn marks and a brown-soaked cotton ball were in plain view.
“The heroin in powder form is put in the spoon and burned until transformed into a liquid. The cotton ball is placed in the spoon to soak up the liquid and filter it. The syringe is then used to take the heroin out of the cotton ball. The users inject the heroin and stop the bleeding with the towel after taking the syringe out,” Noyes wrote in his report.
As Noyes questioned Sullivan and her boyfriend, she admitted to being pregnant with his child and that the fight was based on him not spending enough time with her. Police asked permission to search her apartment, which she agreed to but only after a lengthy argument regarding their reasons. During the search, Noyes discovered nine baggies filled with chunky brown powder consistent with uncut heroin.
Around the same time, Amesbury police officer Thomas Nichols and his K-9 Kaybar found a cardboard container under the bathroom sink containing a needle filled with heroin, burnt spoons and another needle. Police confiscated an additional 23 syringes/needles, only three of them unused, two Suboxone pills tablets, numerous drug baggies, spoons and bloody towels.
It was shortly thereafter that Sullivan admitted being a drug runner for Abrahams Jr. and that she feared for her life. Sullivan’s roommate was summonsed on heroin possession and recently placed on six months pretrial probation and ordered to complete a drug diversion program. Sullivan’s boyfriend was summonsed for knowingly being present where heroin is kept, according to Noyes’ report.
Sullivan was charged with two counts of heroin possession with intent to distribute and one count of possession of a class B substance (prescription pills) with intent to distribute. When brought before a judge in June, Sullivan was able to avoid jail time, despite her admitting to being a drug runner for Abrahams Jr. Instead, Judge Peter Doyle suspended any jail time for 18 months and ordered her to remain drug/alcohol free with random screens, continue with treatment and attend three AA meetings a week.
But by September, Sullivan had already violated conditions of her release and had left Amesbury for East Main Street in Merrimac. From there, she and Dastous were allegedly selling heroin to an undercover Newburyport police officer inside Cashman Park and heroin users across the city.