SALEM — A Salem man who was out on bail in a cocaine trafficking case was arrested Thursday on heroin trafficking and new cocaine distribution charges following a month-long investigation by Salem police.
Eric Rentas, 29, of 48 Beaver St., was near his home when police, armed with both an arrest warrant and a search warrant, took him into custody at around 1 p.m., Salem Police Lt. Steve Bona said.
The arrest initially came on four counts of distribution of crack cocaine, based on a series of purchases by an undercover police officer from a nearby town.
Once inside Rentas’ apartment, however, police found a total of 41 grams of heroin (just under 11/2 ounces), worth approximately $5,000 to $6,000 on the street, and another 20 grams (about two-thirds of an ounce) of crack cocaine packaged for sale, Bona said.
The investigators also found evidence of drug distribution, including small scales and baggies.
Rentas is now facing additional charges of trafficking in heroin and an additional cocaine charge.
He is expected to be arraigned on all of the charges Friday morning in Salem District Court.
Bona said that as of Thursday, the city of Salem has had 156 opiate overdoses, 15 of which were fatal. Bearing down on and trying to cut off the sources of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opiate, has been a priority of the police department.
The investigation, which was led by Detective Kevin St. Pierre, took about a month, as the undercover officer arranged a series of four purchases of crack, Bona said.
Also involved in the investigation were Sgt. Kristian Hanson, Deni Gaito, Thomas Brennan, and Bona.
Rentas was one of three men arrested in July after an investigation turned up evidence that an apartment at Loring Towers was being used as a “trap house” for a ring of dealers, including Rentas, his brother and a third man.
Rentas’ bail was initially set at $150,000 by a Salem District Court judge, an amount that led his mother to burst into tears in the courtroom.
But the following month, on Aug. 31, Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley reduced Rentas’ bail to $5,000, which was posted shortly after the ruling.
Court records show that a warrant has now been issued for Rentas for violating the terms of his release in the cocaine trafficking case.