Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Receiving up to $1 Million of Cocaine

Katherine Ramirez, right, with her attorney, Brendan Kelley, in Haverhill District Court. (WHAV News photograph by Dana Esmel.)

A woman, arraigned Thursday in Haverhill District Court on a charge of trafficking more than 200 grams of cocaine through the mail, has been ordered held on $1 million cash bail pending her return to court next month.

Katherine Ramirez, 22, of 53 Sixth Ave., Haverhill, pleaded not guilty and was also ordered by Judge Stephen S. Abany to surrender her passport if bail was posted. As WHAV first reported Thursday, she was arrested Wednesday, about 2:45 p.m., at 53 Sixth Ave. by Haverhill police and Massachusetts State Police, working with an undercover FBI agent, dressed in a UPS delivery uniform, in the alleged delivery of “approximately 10 kilograms of a white substance believed to be cocaine,” according to court documents. In court, Assistant Attorney General Cesar Vega explained, for the state.

“Detectives walked up to the front stairs of that address, placed the package on the top step. A female was standing at the door. Detectives asked the female if she was Katherine Ramirez. The female stated she was. The detectives asked Ramirez if she was expecting a package, to which she responded affirmatively and looked at the package. Investigators then asked Miss Ramirez to sign for the package and detectives scanned the package. Miss Ramirez reached down for the package and an arrest signal was given,” Vega said.

Vega told Abany police in Chelmsford were first alerted earlier Wednesday by a UPS security investigator at a facility there of a package containing “suspected narcotics.”

“The Chelmsford (Police Department) contacted the (Massachusetts) State Police Transportation Drug Unit Task Force to respond, to conduct an investigation. State police detectives responded to the UPS call and took possession of the package which contained kilograms of cocaine. The street value was estimated to be in the amount of $700,000 (to) $1 Million,” Vega said.

When questioned by investigators after waiving her miranda rights, according to Vega, Ramirez said she lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico “with her grandmother” and that she “needed money to finance college education.”  She allegedly said a person in Puerto Rico, whom she would not identify but was known to her family, had asked her to receive the package.

“She stated, when she was asked about, again, the individual who arranged for the package to be delivered to her, ‘You don’t live in Puerto Rico, you don’t understand.’ She also stated she was not given instructions on what to do after she received the package. She did state that she was going to a family dinner at 5 p.m. that afternoon and then get in contact with the person who had arranged for her to receive the package,” Vega added.

Ramirez was represented at the arraignment by Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) Attorney Brendan Kelley, Lawrence, according to court and agency records. He called the bail amount for Ramirez “grossly excessive” and noted that while holding dual citizenship, Ramirez was raised and educated in Haverhill since she was a child.

“She has ties to Puerto Rico but she has strong ties here, Judge.  If released, she will live with her mother. I think, Judge, there are certain events to this recitation of what she was alleged to have said that we take issue with. And I think the contacts will be important and I look forward to reviewing that,” Kelley said.

Ramirez was also ordered to pay $150 toward counsel costs after being determined to be “indigent but able to contribute,” according to court documents. She is scheduled to return to court for a probable cause hearing Oct. 20. If convicted on a charge of trafficking in 200 or more grams of a controlled substance, she could face 12 to 20 years in state prison, or fined from $50,000 to $500,000.

“We will continue to aggressively work with our many law enforcement partners to apprehend those persons who continue to place our citizens in danger by distributing narcotics in the region,” Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro said, through a statement Thursday afternoon from Attorney General Maura Healey.

“We allege this defendant conducted a criminal operation that trafficked close to $1 million worth of cocaine through the mail,” Healey said. “We will continue to work with our local and state partners to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who bring these drugs into our communities and onto our streets.”

The case is being prosecuted by Vega with assistance from Assistant Attorney General Gina Kwon, both of Healey’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crimes Division. In addition to Haverhill and Chelmsford police, it was investigated by state police assigned to Healey’s Office and the State Police Transportation Drug Unit with assistance from the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

6 thoughts on “Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Receiving up to $1 Million of Cocaine

  1. Another criminal illegal trespasser from another country making Haverhill home.

    The liberal politicians in the city must be so happy Haverhill is becoming the new Lawrence.