Haverhill Teen Who Allegedly Got Gun Past Police to Face Superior Court Judge

Criminal defense attorney Alex Moskovsky (left) acted on Elijah Oliver's behalf during a Haverhill District Court arraignment September 21. (WHAV News photograph)

Elijah Oliver, who police say is a “ranking member” of one of Haverhill’s two feuding gangs, is set to face a Superior Court judge this month on charges he allegedly slipped a loaded handgun past police during an arrest in September.

An Essex County grand jury indicted the Haverhill 19-year-old during a secret session that now elevates his case from the district to superior court level, District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s spokeswoman Carrie Kimball told WHAV.

As WHAV previously reported, Oliver was arrested in September 2018 for carrying an unlicensed loaded firearm. While taking him into custody, police pat-frisked and handcuffed Oliver, locating marijuana—but not the Smith & Wesson 9mm loaded with seven bullets he allegedly tucked into his sweatpants.

In a court appearance last fall, Oliver’s attorney Alex Moskovsky admitted the pat-frisk was likely done hastily given the circumstances, but placed blame on the three officers—including a State Police trooper—on scene.

“It’s one thing if there was no pat-frisk, but if three separate officers are doing that, I’d think there’d be a little light bulb that would go off to suggest that something went wrong,” the attorney argued. “There may not be probable cause as to whether my client had that gun. How do we know the gun wasn’t there before?”

In a police report obtained by WHAV, Patrolman Penny Portalla said the firerarm had to have come from Oliver. According to Portalla, who drove the cruiser, Oliver’s hands were cuffed behind his back, but he was observed during the drive to the police station possibly trying to free his hands. He then leaned against the door where the gun was later found.

Asked by Portalla where the gun came from, Oliver replied, “Do you have video? You searched me.”

Despite displaying a belligerent attitude toward Portalla, Oliver tried to appeal to Detective Sean M. Scharneck after his arrest. According to Scharneck, Oliver—who has ties to the late Nike Colon—said he was “in fear” and asked police to “keep his family safe.” In the weeks before his arrest last fall, Oliver’s home near the Westgate Plaza shopping center was both shot at and firebombed, police said.