Drug Case Against Haverhill DPW Workers Frasca, Allen Dropped: ‘Justice Was Served’

Kevin Moriarty (left), Erik Frasca and Steve Allen appeared in Haverhill District Court on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (WHAV News photograph)

Nearly one year after the arrests of former Department of Public Works employees Erik Frasca and Steven Allen, Haverhill District Court First Justice Stephen Abany Wednesday declared the charges against the men dropped.

Different than a dismissal, Wednesday’s outcome of “nolle prosequi” came one month after Judge Patricia Dowling suppressed evidence in the case at the request of Frasca and Allen’s defense attorneys. Speaking only to WHAV after Wednesday’s victory, Allen’s attorney Stephen Colella and Frasca’s attorney William Early proudly declared that “justice was served.”

“It’s like it never happened and the government said 'We can’t proceed, therefore we’ll withdraw everything,'” Colella told WHAV, explaining the outcome.

In the wake of Frasca and Allen’s August 2018 arrests for the alleged drug deal outside Summer Street’s City Hall, WHAV was the only media outlet in the courtroom as the case continued month after month. Co-defendant Kevin Moriarty pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy in April, receiving one year of probation after two charges--one count of possession and one count of distribution—were declared continued without a finding. A third charge, conspiracy to violate drug laws, was dismissed at the request of prosecuting attorney Stephen LaMonica, who called the outcome a “fair resolution to the case.”

Haverhill Police received an anonymous tip that Moriarty was selling narcotics to Highway Department employees. Subsequent surveillance caught the trio engaged in a “hand-to-hand” transaction leading to their arrests last summer.

Police recovered a plastic vial allegedly containing two broken pieces of an orange pill said to be suboxone from Allen, along with two pieces of a round blue pill believed to be oxycodone from the armrest of Frasca’s truck. Moriarty had six small round blue pills believed to be oxycodone on him at the time of his arrest, police said.

Moriarty told police at the time of his arrest that he did not sell the pill to Allen but rather “gave it to him as a friend.”

WHAV was in the courtroom when Judge Dowling was able to view surveillance footage from the incident last month, and when Colella and Early had the chance to question arresting officer Daniel McDonald, a 25-year veteran of the Haverhill Police Department.

That anonymous letter made another appearance in court in May, with Allen’s attorney arguing that the letter wasn’t enough of a reason to legally begin following the men, never mind arresting his client.

“There’s nothing consistent with a drug transaction as represented by the police,” Colella said. “They’ve misconstrued what they’ve observed because they were so intent upon believing anonymous information.”

McDonald testified that the letter “trickled down” to him from his police captain superior and he still has no idea who authored the letter.

ADA LaMonica argued there was more to the incident than the two-minute video shown, including McDonald’s observations and six years of training as a narcotics detective. Dowling, however, agreed with Colella’s notion that the clip could be highlighting something innocent.

“They passed by each other momentarily and there’s no suggestion anything was exchanged—much less money, drugs or anything else,” Colella said. “They could’ve talked and said ‘Are you coming to my cookout next week?’”

Allowing the motion to suppress, Dowling said she didn’t fault McDonald, but couldn’t find what she called “sufficient basis” for the pat-frisk and search that led to their Aug. 30 arrests.

With the case officially behind them, both Frasca and Allen look forward to “getting on with their lives,” their attorneys said. Frasca, who resigned from his DPW role with 19 years’ service, is currently exploring options for his next job, while Allen—fired from the DPW after his arrest—currently owns his own excavation company.

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