Chelsea Prosecutor Honored at Annual Award Ceremony

Chelsea Prosecutor Honored at Annual Award Ceremony

A member of the prosecution team that handles cases in Chelsea and Revere was honored with a prestigious award named after a former school teacher, Suffolk prosecutor, and Boston City Council member, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

Assistant District Attorney Priscilla Guerrero received the Brian J. Honan Award for Excellence in the Courtroom and Commitment to the Communities We Serve at a ceremony held last month at Suffolk University. The award is presented annually to a lawyer who pursues a criminal justice mission that balances outstanding legal work with community advocacy above and beyond the call of duty. Honan, who died suddenly in 2002, worked alongside Conley as an assistant district attorney in the 1990s before taking a seat representing Allston/Brighton on the Boston City Council.

“Priscilla is a mentor to high school and college students and a resource for her colleagues,” Conley said. “But perhaps most important of all, she shows a high-functioning moral and ethical compass that makes us all very proud.”

Guerrero started in the DA’s office as an intern before being hired in 2011 as a member of the Community Relations staff, where she helped organize Conley’s annual Soccer and Basketball for Peace tournaments, recruited volunteers for the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood clean-up project, and received special recognition from the Boston City Council for her efforts. She co-founded the weekly Reading Day event at the Joseph Lee K-8 School in Dorchester, which brings prosecutors, police officers, and other criminal justice officials into the classroom to read to young children – a program that got a widely-circulated mention on Twitter from the children’s author Cynthia Levinson earlier this year.

When Guerrero made up her mind to attend Suffolk Law School, she did it while working full-time and still managed to graduate a semester early.  Taking a new role in the office as a paralegal, she helped brief and moot a series of cases heading to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and as an Assistant DA she argued them – including a serious domestic violence stabbing conviction that was ultimately affirmed by the court.

Though currently assigned as a line prosecutor in Chelsea District Court, Guerrero continues her role as an active ambassador for the DA’s office at the annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast, Taste of Chelsea, and Basketball and Soccer events. In 2016, when she was named one of El Mundo Boston’s Latino 30 Under 30, she used her platform to promote the prosecutor’s job as an important and satisfying one that benefits the entire community. And on the day she received the Honan award, she organized a pot-luck breakfast celebration at the Lee School for the school year’s final Reading Day program.

“Priscilla has spent seven years building bridges with the people our office serves,” Conley said. “She’s focused especially on the kids and teens who count on us for safe neighborhoods. She’s a leader in and out of the courtroom and I’m very proud of everything she’s accomplished as a prosecutor and community advocate.”

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CBC Hosts Candidates Forum for District Attorney, U.S. Congress

CBC Hosts Candidates Forum for District Attorney, U.S. Congress

The Chelsea Black Community (CBC), under the leadership of President Joan Cromwell, hosted a Candidates Forum on June 27 at the Chelsea Senior Center.

Four of the five candidates for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s position in the Sept. 4 Democratic Primary– Linda Champion, Rachael Rollins, Shannon McAuliffe, and Evandro Carvalho – participated in the forum. Cromwell announced that DA candidate Greg Henning was invited to the forum, but was unable to attend due to another commitment.

Boston City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley, candidate for U.S. Congress, took part in the CBC’s Congressional Candidates Forum. Congressman Michael Capuano was unable to attend because Congress was in session in Washington, D.C.

The four DA candidates presented their qualifications for the position and stated how they would run the DA’s office if they were elected. There were some spirited remarks by the candidates while discussing issues such as immigration, sanctuary cities, criminal justice reform, the homeless, diversion programs, the opioid crisis, and the safety of residents in Suffolk County.

Rollins delivered the most eye-opening comments of the forum when she spoke about the lack of diversity in positions of leadership at ROCA, the Chelsea-based agency led by CEO Molly Baldwin. Rollins’ comments came after McAuliffe, a former director at Roca, had rebutted Rollins’ earlier statement that she [Rollins] had management experience at Massport, MassDOT, and the MBTA, which, Rollins noted, are much larger organizations than ROCA.

McAuliffe said, “We heard a little bit about Roca leading 17 people and I want to be really clear about this: The staff of Roca is 17 people, but it is an agency with over 200 young men who are the highest risk in the county, and helping to give them what they need to actually turn away from crime. I will let everybody leave their own opinions to themselves about the MBTA and Massport and what we’ve actually seen about those companies, but what I can say about Roca is that it is effective, it’s data-driven, it’s innovative, and it’s about leading radical change.”

Rollins responded vigorously to McAuliffe, saying, “I was fortunate enough after Shannon left Roca, to be offered the job of director of Roca, and what was disappointing to me is that I would have been the first person of color in the 30-year history of Roca to ever have that position. Roca has inserted itself into communities of color and its management is historically not people of color. And I am very, very tired, very candidly, of communities of color being led by people that don’t look like us, and we are not asked to sit at the table. So I am very proud of my history of hiring people of color, and women, at the MBTA, Massport, and MassDOT, and I hope ROCA works really hard to make sure that they get some more diversity in their leadership.”

Pressley, who received the most enthusiastic ovation of the night upon her introduction, said, “I am running for Seventh Congressional District because this is the most diverse district, and yet it is the most unequal. And if you need any evidence of that, you get on the No. 111 bus and just try to get to work on time, or you can get on the No. 1 bus in Harvard Square in Cambridge and ride it all the way to Dudley Square in Roxbury. And what you will see visually is a stark contrast of life experiences, median household income, and life expectancy drop by decades.

“My opponent has been a reliable vote – given these times, that is no longer good enough,” Pressley continued. “This district deserves and these times demand activist leadership, leaders that will vote the right way, that will lead, that will legislate, that will be bold – and I want to underscore the intention in legislating: to uplift families, to advance communities, and to reduce harm.”

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, who represented Capuano at the forum, delivered a speech highlighting Capuano’s many accomplishments in office as Chelsea’s congressman.

Sharon Caulfield, associate dean of Bunker Hill Community College, did a masterful job as the moderator of the forum. Caulfield, whose husband, Michael, and daughter, Emily, looked on proudly in the audience, kept the program moving smoothly, was professional and courteous in her manner, and was impartial in her actions.

Joan Cromwell thanked Chelsea Community Cable Television and its executive director, Duke Bradley, for televising the forum and the Chelsea Record for its publicizing and coverage of the forum.

Cromwell said in concluding her remarks, “This [forum] was good.”

And all who participated in and attended the forum,  agreed.

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Carvalho Sees His Public Service as Setting Strong Foundation for DA Run

Carvalho Sees His Public Service as Setting Strong Foundation for DA Run

Evandro Carvalho believes his campaign for Suffolk County District Attorney is picking up momentum with just under three months to go before the Democratic primary is held on Sept. 4.

“It’s an honor to be running, to get to know the various communities in Suffolk County, and I believe we have a great shot to win this election,” said Carvalho, who has been a state representative in the Fifth Suffolk District (Dorchester, Roxbury) for four years.

Carvalho, 36, is a former assistant district attorney who worked for 2 ½ years in current Suffolk County DA Dan Conley’s office prosecuting gun cases in court.

Carvalho has received a number of endorsements from the Suffolk County delegation in the House of Representatives.

“My colleagues in the House know my heart, they know my passion to serve our community and they know the experiences that I’ve had, particularly as a former assistant district attorney who was one of the leaders in pushing for the criminal justice reform that we just enacted in April,” said Carvalho. “They understand that I’m the best person to go and implement those changes to improve the law.”

Carvalho feels his experience as an assistant DA and state representative and his record of service to the community set a strong foundation to his bid for the Suffolk County DA position.

“I think it’s time for someone like me, who knows the particular communities – whether it’s the youth, the people dealing with substance abuse issues or mental health issues –  who has been fighting for those affected by these issues – to serve the people of Suffolk County as their next district attorney,” said Carvalho.

Originally from Cape Verde

Carvalho was raised on his grandparents’ farm in Cape Verde (islands), which is a nation off the west coast of Africa.

“I learned how to work hard and I also learned the value of education,” he said.

Carvalho came to the United States when he was 15 years old to join his mother (Ana), who was already residing in Dorchester. Fluent in Cape Verdean Creole and Portuguese, he learned how to speak English and enrolled at Madison Park High School in Boston. He became a top student academically, graduating in 1999.

He continued his education at UMass/Amherst, focusing on Legal Studies and Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice and a minor in African American Studies, graduating in 2004. He enrolled at Howard University Law School, receiving his law degree in 2008.

“One of the reasons I chose Howard was that I was inspired by Thurgood Marshall, who was an alumnus and the Supreme Court’s first African-American justice,” said Carvalho. “He made such an impact on American history. The legacy he provided for us at Howard was so admirable.”

He became a citizen of the United States in 2008 and his first vote was for Barack Obama for President.

“I remember how excited the people were that Obama was elected as president,” said Carvalho. “That was one of the important moments in my life, and it inspired me to serve – that I, too, could be someone that helps move our society forward and becomes a unifier like Obama was, a leader who brought America together.”

Serving as an assistant ADA

After working at the WilmerHale law firm in Washington, D.C., he returned to Boston in 2011 and became an assistant district attorney in Dan Conley’s office. He said he learned a lot in that position and always tried to help people improve their lives and get back on the right path.

“You see the same families cycling though the criminal justice system, dealing with substance abuse issues and other issues,” said Carvalho. “These are real people, not just another folder and another number. I understood their situation because I grew up in those neighborhoods. That inspired me to run for office, to become a state representative and change that system, to be able to do more to break the cycle of individuals going in and out of jail without a way out.”

A focus on criminal

justice in the House

As a state representative for the past four years, he has focused his efforts on improving the state’s criminal justice system.

“And together with the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and the work of my colleagues and advocates throughout the state, we were able to accomplish the criminal justice reforms that nobody thought we could,” said Carvalho.

He is also committed to the continuing battle against the opiod crisis in Massachusetts.

“The opioid crisis is one of the most important issues right now,” said Carvalho. “The system, as a whole, has not dealt adequately with the individuals affected by this crisis. As the vice-chair of the public health committee and someone who has visited various neighborhoods, I see too many citizens dying from this epidemic. I intend to fight this through a public health lens and focus upon treatment for people. And instead of drug addicts going to jail, let’s get them in drug treatment facilities and focus on programs to help them get long-term treatment. We need to expand the drug court programs in Suffolk County. Make no mistake, the people that need to go to prison will go to prison, but let’s emphasize diversion programs as well.”

Hopes to bring accountability and transparency to the DA’s office

Carvalho said his plan as DA will be to bring “accountability, transparency, and diversity” to the DA’s office.

“I will make sure that the staff at the DA’s office receives adequate training and that we expand the capabilities of the victim witness advocates,” said Carvalho. “The reality is that the victims of crimes need a voice. We need to do more for them and build a relationship between the DA’s office and our communities ahead of time so they feel comfortable working with the office.”

Carvalho said throughout his life he has been able to “bring people together” for the good of the community.

“We need someone that’s going to come in and try to bring people together,” said Carvalho. “I want to start a sports tournament where different communities compete and the teams are made up of youths from different neighborhoods. I want to bring the next generation of youths together from the different parts of Suffolk County. The youth are our future and this will go a long way toward healing our communities and bringing us together. We are all Americans and we all want the same thing. My goal is to be a voice for all.”

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Driver Convicted of All Charges in Fatal 2016 Collision

Driver Convicted of All Charges in Fatal 2016 Collision

A Suffolk Superior Court jury Wednesday, May 30, convicted a drunk driver of killing 25-year-old Marco Salguero-Cruz in Chelsea and speeding away from the scene after a night of drinking at a Chelsea bar.

Jurors convicted Jose Daniel Arevalo, 35, of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence and leaving the scene of a collision causing death. He will be sentenced Thursday morning.

“Two years ago, the defendant made a choice that cost Marco Salguero-Cruz his life,” DA Dan Conley said. “Suffolk prosecutors, Chelsea detectives, and State troopers worked for untold hours on this case, first to identify the suspect, then to apprehend him, and finally to hold him accountable.  He fled the scene. He fled the country. But he could not flee from justice in a Suffolk County courtroom.”

Assistant District Attorney Michael V. Glennon proved at trial that Salguero-Cruz was struck by a silver Toyota Camry that left the scene on the night of June 4, 2016, in the area of Washington Street in Chelsea.  He died of his injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Chelsea Police detectives and State troopers assigned to Conley’s office recovered images from cameras in the area that captured the vehicle’s path of travel as it exited the parking lot of a Washington Street bar at a high rate of speed, and later as it fled from the area of the crash.  Images captured prior to the crash depict the vehicle with two functioning headlights; footage captured immediately after the crash shows the vehicle with only one headlight working.

With the assistance of Conley’s Forensic Multimedia Lab and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Digital Evidence Lab, previously-deleted footage from a private security camera was recovered and enhanced.

Conley’s office, Chelsea Police, and State Police released images depicting the driver to the media and the public, and a person familiar with Arevalo contacted investigators after recognizing him.  Investigators were also able to independently identify Arevalo through witness statements, social media, and Registry of Motor Vehicles records, prosecutors said.

Additional footage depicted Arevalo inside the Washington Street bar consuming four beers and six shots in approximately 2.5 hours leading up to the fatal crash, prosecutors said.

Arevalo allegedly fled to El Salvador two days after the crash but later returned to the United States and was taken into custody in Texas by Texas Rangers acting on a Massachusetts warrant obtained by Chelsea and State police.

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Lynn Man Arrested in Assault of Chelsea Waitress

Lynn Man Arrested in Assault of Chelsea Waitress

Chief Brian Kyes announced late last week the arrest in Maryland of Gerardo Reyes Menjivar, 36, of Lynn, who was wanted in connection with the stabbing of a waitress at a Chelsea Restaurant on Monday night, May 7.

Menjivar was placed in custody in Beltsville, MD, May 10 by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Chelsea Police Detectives placed a Nationwide BOLO for Menjivar and the vehicle he was operating on Tuesday, May 8. Investigators worked tirelessly in their efforts to track Menjivar’s movements over 24 hours, and those efforts led to the arrest.

Chief Kyes praised his officers, the community members who came forward with information and a host of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that coordinated together to bring Menjivar into custody.

“Today after a successful nationwide law enforcement effort we placed a violent individual into custody and our community is safer,” he said. “I thank the many agencies involved that worked in unison with our department to apprehend Menjivar.”

Menjivar will be held in Maryland as a fugitive from justice as the Suffolk Court District Attorney’s Office work on his rendition back to Massachusetts.

Menjivar will face multiple charges including Assault to Murder.

The following agencies were instrumental in the investigation:  The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Boston PD Detectives, Denver CO PD, the Bennet CO Sheriff’s Office, NYPD, US Marshals Service, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, and  the regional HIDA (High Intensity Drug Apprehension) Taskforce.

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Suffolk County District Attorney Candidates Forum Sparks Debate Among Contenders

Suffolk County District Attorney Candidates Forum Sparks Debate Among Contenders

A heated discussion between the candidates for Suffolk County District Attorney took place in a packed room at Suffolk University Law School on Thursday, May 3.

The event was moderated by Meghan Irons, the social justice reporter at The Boston Globe, and was hosted by Boston Wards 3, 4, and 5 Democratic committees, Suffolk Law School, Boston NAACP, MassVOTE, and the Mass. Dems Latino Caucus.

Candidates Evandro Carvalho, Massachusetts state representative from Dorchester, Attorney Linda Champion, Greg Henning assistant district attorney, Shannon McAuliffe director at Roca, an organization that disrupts the cycle of poverty, and Rachel Rollins, Chief Legal Counsel to the Massachusetts Port Authority, were ready to answer questions during the forum.

“About 77 percent of DA races go un-contested across the U.S.,” said Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program and “What a Difference a DA Makes” campaign for the ACLU of MA, to a crowded room. “There is a lack of opportunities for communities to engage but, this is what democracy looks like.”

Hall said that many folks don’t even know what goes on in a DA’s Office and most don’t even know that it is an elected position.

“We are working to make sure the country and residents of Suffolk County are engaged and active,” said Hall.

Candidates were allowed 90 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds for rebuttal. Questions ranged from are you too much of an insider or outsider to change things, to how to stop cycle of repeat offenders to how will the candidates make the office more diverse?

Champion said she has three areas she will focus on as District Attorney beside safety: education, housing and jobs.

“When you have all of these things you can have an environment that everyone can feel safe,” she said. “I’m in this race to focus on what is the problem and that’s the lives of our residents.”

Henning said his goal as DA would to make sure that everyone is protected, and to re-connect the community with law enforcement.

“I will not only ensure community policing to keep the streets safe but to help people to not to engage and re-engage with the justice system.”

Rollins said that to make a real difference more people of color and women need to work in the justice system.

“To get fairness, equity and justice you need more diversity in the people that serves those decisions,” said Rollins.

McAuliffe distanced herself from the pack by focusing on her current work at Roca, a non-profit that takes young adults who have a high chance of repeat offense and steers them in a different path by providing job training and other opportunities.

“I’m the only one here that hasn’t worked for a job opening,” said McAuliffe who took on the current DA during the last election. “Reform needs a reformer, and that’s who I am.”

Carvalho said that in order to seek justice you need to look at who is making the decisions. He pointed out that the people making the decisions are largely white and those going in and out of the DA’s office are largely people of color.

“I live in Dorchester and my constituents deal with it every day,” he said. “They are trapped without help every day, and that has to change. As DA I will be sure to change things.”

Current DA Dan Conley announced earlier this year that he will not be seeking re-election. Conley has held the office since February 2002.

This will be the second open candidate forum of the year. The primary for the Suffolk Country District Attorney race will be on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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Sen DiDomenico Annual DiDomenico Foundation St Patrick’s Day Roast in Charlestown March 9

Sen DiDomenico Annual DiDomenico Foundation St Patrick’s Day Roast in Charlestown March 9

Sen. Sal DiDomenico will once again be hosting the annual DiDomenico Foundation St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Friday, March 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Bunker Hill Knights of Columbus in Charlestown.  This event has become the official kick-off to the St. Patrick’s Day season. In addition to a traditional Irish dinner, the night will include Irish music, step dancers, comedy by Tony V, bag pipers, videos by elected officials and the annual presentation of the Golden Shamrock Award to a community leader.   Over 75 federal, state, and local elected officials are also expected to attend and several of them will try their favorite St. Patrick’s Day jokes.  Political figures joining the festivities include Gov. Charlie Baker, Congressman Mike Capuano, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, and many more! There will also be a special surprise guest as well.  This has quickly become one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day traditions in the Greater Boston community.

For more tickets and more information on the event, please call (617) 387-3327.  Proceeds will go to The DiDomenico Foundation, which funds educational scholarships for high school students, as well as a large toy drive during the holiday season for domestic violence and homeless shelters throughout the Greater Boston area.

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DA Dan Conley Announces He Won’t Run for Re-Election

DA Dan Conley Announces He Won’t Run for Re-Election

On what was his 16th anniversary in the office of District Attorney, Dan Conley surprised many by announcing he would not run for the office again.

Simply put, the former prosecutor turned City Councilor turned DA, said he believed it was time to let others have a chance to run the county-wide office – an office that covers Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop.

“I love the job, the office, its staff, and the people and communities we serve,” said Conley in a statement. “But I have long believed that those of us fortunate enough to lead as elected officials must also be willing to give others the same opportunity. For this reason, I will not be seeking re-election this fall.”

Conley entered office on Feb. 20, 2002.

Chelsea Chief Brian Kyes – who worked closely with Conley and his office on hundreds of cases – said

“The news of my good friend Dan Conley not seeking re-election as the District Attorney of Suffolk County certainly comes as a surprise,” said the Chief. “I have been extremely fortunate to have worked directly with Dan and collaborate with him on a multiple of public safety initiatives and programs during the past 11 years as the Police Chief in Chelsea. His institutional knowledge, wisdom and extraordinary guidance as the leader of the prestigious office on Bulfinch Place has had an incredible impact across the entire region of Suffolk County that will last for decades. While I wholeheartedly respect Dan’s decision, which no doubt was a difficult one for him and his family, I know that he continues to have plenty to offer to the criminal justice system here in the Commonwealth moving forward.”

The news also set off a firestorm of candidates debating or announcing a run.

Already, by Wednesday morning, there were some candidates who had announced their possible intentions to run – most notably City Councilor at-Large Michael Flaherty. The councilor was a former assistant prosecutor.

“After today’s announcement by DA Conley, I have been asked if I would be interested in running for Suffolk County District Attorney to succeed him,” said Flaherty in a statement. “To that I say that I have always been interested in being the Suffolk County District Attorney. But this day is about acknowledging the outstanding job Dan Conley has done for the residents of Suffolk County. I will consult with my family about my own plans, but today we all owe our gratitude and thanks to Dan Conley…”

Long-time defense attorney Shannon McAuliffe, who has roots in Chelsea’s Roca program, had already been planning to run and will continue those plans.

Meanwhile, many have postulated about potential candidates around the area, mostly without any confirmation.

City Corporate Counsel Gene O’Flaherty, a Charlestown resident, has been mentioned in more than a few circles. With support in his former home of Chelsea –where he was the state representative for years – and also in Boston City Hall, where he now works, he could be a potential candidate with backing from key county personalities.

Within Conley’s office, long-time accomplished prosecutor Ed Zabin cannot be overlooked as a potential candidate for the position. His experience and expertise in prosecuting the most difficult cases in the county has no comparison.

Looking at some of the best attorneys in the area, one cannot overlook superstar defense attorney Rosemary Scapicchio, who has argued some of the best cases in the county for her clients with great success – and remarkable toughness.

One cannot discount former Councilor and mayoral candidate John Connolly, who is a close friend to Conley and recently showed up last year during Mayor Martin Walsh’s campaign after years of silence. Could he be looking for the position?

Meanwhile, in East Boston, former Boston City Councilor Mike Ross has been talked about as someone who would make sense in the post.

Any candidate, though, will have big shoes to replace, as Conley has been a very successful DA for many years.

In a letter to his staff, he outlined the scores of changes and innovations that have come to the DA’s office through his tenure – whether with the advent of DNA evidence or the hiring of skilled prosecutors.

In his statement, he also thanked law enforcement throughout the county.

“At a time when law enforcement has come under intense scrutiny across the country I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the men and women of law enforcement across Suffolk County for their courage, their determination to do a difficult job well, and the standard they set for other agencies,” he said

He also said that the people of Suffolk County have been a blessing to him.

“From victims and survivors to families and loved ones, they have shown a depth of dignity and grace amid crisis and grief that has been nothing short of inspirational,” he said. “I am so grateful to them for their kindness, their wisdom, and their faith.”

Kyes added, “Leaders like Dan come along once in a generation. I consider myself a better public safety servant from being given the opportunity to have known and worked with him and have benefited from his leadership. I wish him nothing but the best as he begins a challenging new chapter.”

The election for district attorney won’t occur until the fall, but nomination papers for the seat and the Democratic primary in September will become available shortly.

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Police Briefs 02-22-2018

Police Briefs 02-22-2018

BREAKING AND ENTERING

On Feb. 13, at 6:40 p.m., officers observed three parties walking in the vicinity of Blossom Street at Eden Street walking back and forth from Washington Avenue to Eden Street. Officers saw the three parties walking near parked cars and looking into them as they walked by. Officers proceeded to drive around the block. The officers lost sight of the group upon returning. One officer exited the cruiser and began to walk the path the group was last seen. The officer observed a female in one car and a male in another vehicle both were rummaging through the interior of the cars. Both were placed under arrest for Breaking and Entering. A search for the third suspect was made with negative results.

Genecis Diaz, 20, 104 Williams St., and Kevin Gomez-Solis, 23, of 149 Addison St., was charged with breaking and entering in the night for a felony.

Police, Fire Officials Investigating Death near Chelsea Brush Fire

Chelsea and State police and fire investigators combing the scene of an apparent brush fire found some signs of accidental ignition Feb. 15, but have not made any final determinations, officials said.

At about 6:40 p.m., the Chelsea Fire Department and State Police assigned to the Revere barracks responded to the area of Route 16 near Webster Avenue for a fire at an unpaved area abutting the roadway. On extinguishing the blaze, firefighters observed what appeared to be a dead body and made the standard notifications for a death investigation.

State Police detectives assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office responded to the scene, as did Suffolk prosecutors, Chelsea Police detectives, State Police criminalists, the State Fire Marshal’s office, and accelerant-sniffing K-9 unit.

The deceased was badly burned but appeared to be an adult male. The office of the Chief Medical Examiner will attempt to determine the cause and manner of his death. A mattress that fire investigators said was highly flammable was found in close proximity to the body, as were cardboard debris, sterno, a cigarette pack, and other items that may indicate an accidental fire. Nonetheless, officials said, the investigation into the origin of the fire, the cause of the man’s death, and his identity is still under way.

Multiple witnesses reported the fire to 911 beginning at 6:37 pm, but any motorists or passersby who may have observed the area shortly before then are asked to contact Chelsea or State Police.

BROKE INTO APARTMENT

On Feb. 13, officers responded to 57 Burma Rd. on a report of a breaking and entering. A representative from Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) stated many vacant apartments had been illegally entered and that they had set up a camera inside 57 Burma Rd. to record any illegal entry. Officers were notified by the CHA that an entry at the apartment had taken place and they had a video of the suspect.

The officers identified the suspect from the video and placed him under arrest.

Carlos Acosta, 18, of 59 Burma Rd., was charged with breaking and entering in the night for a felony, larceny from a building and larceny under $250.

KNIFE THREAT

On Feb. 14, at 2:24 p.m., Officers responded to a past assault at Cottage Street at Highland Street. Upon arrival, they met the juvenile reporting victim who stated four males followed him home, one male whom he identified.

The juvenile victim reported threats were made with a knife against him. The identified juvenile was placed under arrest.

A 17-year-old Chelsea youth was charged with assault with a  dangerous weapon, intimidating a witness, and threatening to commit a crime.

CAR BREAKERS

On Feb. 14, at 12:09 a.m., officers were dispatched to the area of Eastern Avenue and Clinton for a report of a motor vehicle break in progress. While responding, dispatch informed officer’s that the calling party was watching a male subject breaking into a motor vehicle and entering the car. Officers identified a second individual involved and placed both into custody.

Michael Lacrosse, 36, of Lynn, was charged with Breaking and entering a vehicle in the night for a felony, malicious damage to a motor vehicle, larceny under $250, and possession of burglarious tools.

William Linscott, 42, of 934 Broadway, was charged with Breaking and entering a vehicle in the night for a felony, malicious damage to a motor vehicle, and larceny under $250.

DRIVING INCIDENT

On Feb. 5,  at 2:16 a.m., a CPD officer on patrol on Shawmut Street observed an oncoming vehicle without his headlights illuminated. The officer then proceeded to flash his lights to alert the driver. Another CPD officer traveling in the opposite direction also flashed his lights to alert the driver, but to no avail. The vehicle continued to operate on several streets without lights. At that point, officers activated their emergency blue lights in an attempt to stop the driver to ascertain his condition. The car was finally pulled over with the assistance of other CPD officers. Based on a conversation with the driver he was placed under arrest for OUI 2nd offense.

Selvin Parada, 40, of 17 Willard St., was charged with operating under the influence of liquor (2nd offense), negligent operation and lights violation.

TRAFFICKING HEROIN

On Feb. 10, at 10 a.m., officers were dispatched to 74 Springvale Ave. # 1 for a report of a loaded firearm in the apartment. The reporting party stated that she and her husband observed a loaded gun on their roommate’s bed. CPD officers responded to the address and placed the subject under arrest for the illegal possession of a firearm and drugs observed by officers in the bedroom. Officers discovered several packets of what was believed to be heroin and several unlawful prescription pills on the subject at the time of arrest.

The firearm ended up not being in violation of state law as it was a replica airsoft gun.

Olsen Cejour, 27, of 74 Springvale Ave., was charged with trafficking in heroin, distribution of a Class B drug (subsequent offense), and distribution of a Class C drug.

Police Log

Monday, 2/5

Selvin Parada, 40, 17 Willard St., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor (2nd offense), negligent operation of motor vehicle and lights violation.

Tuesday, 2/6

Caroline Cash, 23, 84 Otis ST., Winthrop, was arrested on a warrant.

Mario Martinez, 39, 29 Roosevelt St., Revere, was arrested for trespassing.

Friday, 2/9

Bryan Solano-Alvarez, 18, 77 Carroll St., Chelsea, was arrested for receiving stolen motor vehicle.

Saturday, 2/10

Edgar Lara, 30, 53 Dorchester Ave., Providence, RI 02909, was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed and one-way violation.

Olsen Cejour, 27, 74 Springvale Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for trafficking heroin/morphine/opium, distribution of Class B drug and possessing to distribute Class C drug.

Albert Moore, 48, 40 Driscol, Peabody, was arrested for shoplifting.

Monday, 2/12

Ashley Rivdera, 22, 103 Franklin Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the Influence of liquor, possessing open container of alcohol in motor vehicle (2 counts), speeding, stop sign violation (2 counts) and improper operation of motor vehicle.

Eliezer Ordonez, 43, 34 Gardner St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Jeffrey Curry, 30, 5 Waverly Rd., Woburn, was arrested for shoplifting.

Tuesday, 2/13

Roberto Leon, 31, 145 Shurtleff St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant and intimidation of a witness.

Francisco Damacio Lopreto, 42, 101 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

Genecis Diaz, 20, 104 Williams St., Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering nighttime.

Kevin Gomez-Solis, 23, 149 Addison St., Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering nighttime.

Carlos Acosta, 18, 59 Burma Rd., Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering building nighttime for felony, larceny from building, larceny under $250.

Wednesday, 2/14

Sandra Sargent, 33, 71 Winthrop Ave., Revere, was arrested on a warrant.

Thursday, 2/15

Michael Lacrosse, 36, 13 Moral Ave., Lynn, was arrested for breaking and entering nighttime, malicious damage to motor vehicle, larceny under $250 and possessing burglarious instrument.

William Linscott, 42, 934 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering nighttime, malicious damage to motor vehicle and larceny under $250.

Jessy Sandoval Aldana, 36, 16 Minot St., Lynn, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

Friday, 2/16

Siobhan McKenna, 39, 45 Douglas St., Winthrop, was arrested for violating harassment prevention order.

Ramon Pagan, 56, 444 Harrison Ave., Boston, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.

Asia Galvin, 31, 277 Meridian St., East Boston, was arrested on a warrant.

Gregory Salinas-Rodriguez, 31, 1 Mill Ct. Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor (3rd offense), possessing open container of alcohol in motor vehicle and operating motor vehicle with suspended license.

Saturday, 2/17

Landy Perez, 35, 444 Harrison Ave., Boston, was arrested for dangerous weapon.

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Officials Attend Local Symposium on Ways to Fight Opioid Crisis in the Workplace

Officials Attend Local Symposium on Ways to Fight Opioid Crisis in the Workplace

Forty-year-old Lily was a vibrant, loving mother who was an organist at her church, and known for her delicious baked goods. Privately, she suffered from serious depression, self- medicating herself with alcohol. Lily’s daughter, Secretary of Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, vividly remembers caring for her as a teenager, watching her mother withdraw from life before her passing.

“I’m not ashamed that the illness runs in my family. My job is to channel that adolescent anger into a professional commitment to treat addiction and mental illnesses, and not stigmatize people with chronic conditions,” said Sudders, “So often the way into treatment for people with addictions and mental illnesses is through the criminal justice system.”

Sudders shared her personal experiences with city leaders and business owners during “The Opioid Epidemic: Our Businesses & Workplaces,” on Feb. 7 at the Comfort Inn & Suites, Revere. Presented by the Revere, Chelsea, and Winthrop Chambers of Commerce, and the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative, the breakfast raised awareness about substance abuse in the workplace.

“Addiction is a disease. It is not a lack of will power. Addictions are very powerful,” explained Sudders. “We are in the middle of an epidemic in Massachusetts.  This is very important to us. We are in this with you.”

Sudders recommended that employees be aware of which workers have addictions, are on the way to addiction, or have family members with addictions. These employees may often call in sick or use vacation time, but could be caring for a sick loved one.

“We want to make sure that people we work with have access to treatment and support,” Sudders said. “We are trying to expand access to treatment.”

Over the next five years, the Commonwealth and Gov.  Charlie Baker’s administration will invest more than $200 million into Medicaid to increase access to residential recovery homes, treatment medications, and recovery coaches.

“I’m grateful for the connection between these three, very-close communities,” said Sudders. “They have strong legislative leaderships and great community partnerships.”

According to a December 2017 Center for Disease Control report, the opioid crises has been linked to a two-year drop in life expectancy for the second consecutive year; with opioids being the largest contributor of unintentional injuries due to overdose.

“There is a glimmer of hope,” Sudders said. “But there is still a lot of suffering and work that we need to do together.”

Although six lives are lost each day in Massachusetts from overdoses, there has been a decrease in opioid-related deaths as compared to last year. The Commonwealth has noticed a significant decline in opioid prescriptions, and a 200-percent increase in non-fatal overdoses.

“Businesses are also on the front line, just like first responders and health care workers,” said Alexander Walley, MD, Boston Medical Center. “Throughout Massachusetts people are faced with this in their own families, employees, customers, and public spaces.”

Employers were encouraged to foster a supportive atmosphere and offer resources and benefits to employees. Business owners were recommended to implement clear policies regarding leaves of absence and time off, and to seek professional advice when confronted with substance abuse-related issues.

“People in recovery can be great employees, and employers can help,” said Dr. Walley, director of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program. “Opioid use disorder is a chronic condition of the brain. Treatment works and people recover. That’s an important message.”

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