Judge Sets Bail at $200K for Man Arrested With Fentanyl, Cocaine at Westgate Plaza

Ruben Lara-Ramirez appeared in Haverhill District Court March 14 after being arrested and charged with fentanyl and cocaine trafficking. (WHAV News photograph)

A Haverhill District Court judge imposed a $200,000 cash bail for the Lawrence man arrested in possession of $16,000 worth of fentanyl, cocaine and cash near Westgate Plaza this week.

Ruben Lara-Ramirez spoke to Judge Stephen Abany Thursday through a Spanish-speaking interpreter to answer to charges he trafficked the drugs and conspired to violate drug laws at the time of his arrest March 13. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Sholds initially argued for $500,000 cash bail given the seriousness of the charges and subsequent penalties.

Lara-Ramirez, a native of the Dominican Republic, told Abany his family could likely raise $10,000 in bail money and only agreed to pay $300 to hire court-appointed attorney Timothy Connors after Abany impressed the seriousness of the charges he faces. Lara-Ramirez faces a minimum mandatory sentence of eight years for the cocaine charge and at least three years for the fentanyl charge, ADA Sholds said.

Attorney Connors said his client is a high school graduate with a clean criminal record.

As WHAV previously reported, undercover Haverhill Police officers were conducting surveillance near the Westgate shopping plaza when they observed co-defendant Jeannelle Gramolini enter a Dodge Caravan driven by Lara-Ramirez and conduct what appeared to be a drug transaction. After Gramolini left Lara-Ramirez, Haverhill Police cornered her and a second woman, Marlene Rivera, in the CVS parking lot. The Manchester, N.H. women then told police they purchased four bags of fentanyl for $120 from the Caravan driver.

Lara-Ramirez was followed and arrested given the statements made by Gramolini and Rivera. At the time of his arrest, Lara-Ramirez was found to be in possession of $2,658 in cash, along with plastic bags of fentanyl and cocaine.

All told, police seized 178 grams of fentanyl, worth more than $7,000 and 168 grams of cocaine with a street value of $6,750. Gramolini and Rivera were summonsed to court to answer to charges of possession with intent to distribute a Class A substance and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

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