Methuen Mom Lost Custody of Teen Son Who Ran Drugs for Her, DCF Notified

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

A Methuen mom arrested along with her 16-year-old son for running drugs in Haverhill last week did not currently have custody of the boy, according to a new details.

The son of Erika Benner, 45, was in the care of his grandparents, Prudence and Raymond Maczuba, and living at 6 West Meadow Road in Haverhill, when he and his mother were arrested Wednesday.

Due to the son’s age, Haverhill Police filed a 51A report on his behalf with the Department of Children and Family Services. Details of the filing were not made available but state law requires police to notify DCF when they believe a child is the victim of abuse or neglect.

Arrested by police at his home following a surveillance operation, the son was observed meeting up with several vehicles and people on foot to conduct what police called “hand to hand transactions.”

One of those transactions took place in front of police and led to his arrest. Officers observed Erika Benner, pull into the West Meadow driveway and meet up with her son and another male who came out of the home. Police say Benner held her purse out in front of her while her son dropped a small item into the bag, gave her a hug and went back inside the home.

Police followed Benner to Route 97 and pulled the car she was riding in over after it ran a stop signal. When asked by police what she just gave her son, Benner replied “Xanax.” She also told officers she put the drugs “down my pants” before producing a baggie with white rectangular pills believed to be Xanax.

The driver and passenger of the car said they only met Benner a few weeks ago when she asked them for a ride from Lowell to Haverhill.

Returning to West Meadow Road after arresting Benner, police took the son into custody and charged him with distribution of a class E drug. Wednesday’s incident is the second drug-related interaction the teen had with police. In November 2017, he was pulled over along with Jake Kavanaugh and more than 500 Xanax pills, marijuana and THC oils were seized.

Kavanaugh was present at the home during the younger Benner’s arrest, and was taken into custody after police found him trying to conceal evidence, including digital scales and THC oil.

The boy’s grandfather was also arrested for the unlicensed possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Haverhill Police are continuing their investigation and expect additional charges to be filed.