New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty to Using Stolen IDs in Local Scheme to Buy $140,124 in Cars

A 46-year-old New Jersey man pleaded guilty Friday to his role in a scheme to use the stolen identities of U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico to fraudulently purchase vehicles and other merchandise and use bank accounts and credit cards. Jose Irizarry of Union City, N.J., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and false representation of a Social Security number. U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for April 6. Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence Police Departments were among those credited with helping to prosecute Irizarry. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston previously said the scheme involved 37-year-old Alvin Rivera of Haverhill and 43-year-old Neida Lopez of Methuen.

Methuen Man, 19, Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges of Firearms Thefts

A 19-year-old Methuen man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to conspiring to steal firearms from federally licensed gun dealers. According to court documents and statements made in court, between Aug. 29, 2021 and Oct. 4, that year, Johariel Quezada conspired with others to steal firearms from three New Hampshire federal firearms licensees. During that time, more than 40 firearms were stolen from Milford Firearms in Milford, N.H.; Second Amendment Arms in Windham, N.H.; and MacPhearson Firearms in Brentwood, N.H.

Multiple stolen firearms were seized from Quezada’s Methuen home.

Groveland Police Warn Residents of ‘Grandparent Scam’ After Local Victims Come Forward

The Groveland Police Department is warning seniors about, what it calls, a “grandparent scam” and offering tips to avoid being defrauded. Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey T. Gillen offered the warning and tips Thursday as the department investigates such a case involving a resident. Under the ruse, Gillen said, a swindler calls the grandparent, posing as a grandchild or other relative, and reports they have been arrested and need money to be released by local police. The scammer urges the senior not to tell anyone else in the family. The caller requests bail payment in cash or gift card, to be given to a person posing as a courier or bail bondsman who arrives at the victim’s home.

UTEC Receives $2.4 Million in State Grants to Help Young People Avoid Repeat Crimes

UTEC, a nonprofit in Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell that seeks to help young people avoid repeat crimes, was among several groups statewide sharing in $5.5 million in state grants. UTEC was awarded $990,179 for its work in the Merrimack Valley, another $990,179 for its work with the state Department of Corrections and $450,000 to assist all six state reentry program sites to provide grant management support, evaluation tools, training and other assistance. “Throughout our time in office, we’ve been focused on helping justice-involved individuals re-enter the community so they can lead productive lives and avoid future offenses. These grants will help ensure that opportunities and supports are in place to create better outcomes for individuals and communities,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. The Emerging Adults Reentry Initiative Grant Program provides resources for six nonprofit programs working with pre- and post-release offenders.

Essex County Sheriff’s Program Graduates Nine from Program Aimed at Keeping People Out of Jail

The Essex County Sheriff’s Department recently graduated its first group of nine from its new community-based program Supporting Transitions and Reentry—known as STAR—Program. The graduates were in need of services to keep them out of jail and on a path to successful citizenship. Each were assigned a STAR navigator that developed an individualized plan for services and connections to community resources that helped them get the treatment, counseling, educational services, workforce training and other supports they required. “This is just the start for these men and women who came to the STAR program looking for a chance. They put their trust in our navigators, they put in the hard work, and now they have hope for a better life,” said Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger.

Judge Sends 31-Year-Old Methuen Man to Prison for Four Years for Fentanyl Drug Dealing

A 31-year-old Methuen man was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Boston for his involvement in a fentanyl drug dealing

Nino De Leon Guzman, also known as “Chino,” was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to four years in prison and three years of supervised release. Guzman pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, two counts of distribution of fentanyl, distribution of 40 grams or more of fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. Prosecutors said, from October 2020 through about June 2021, undercover agents purchased fentanyl from Guzman and his associated drug dealing organization on nine separate occasions in the Lawrence and Methuen areas. When arrested June 23, 2021, Guzman was found with fentanyl packaged for distribution and a cell phone for fentanyl deals. A search of Guzman’s Methuen home resulted in the recovery of a kilogram brick of fentanyl, a blender containing multiple bags of fentanyl, a drug ledger, clothing he had worn in prior drug transactions and a sock in a nightstand containing $2,500 cash in drug sales money.

Methuen Man Receives 7.5-Year Prison Sentence for 2020 Armed Bank Robbery

A 26-year-old Methuen man was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Boston for armed bank robbery two years ago. Caio Costa was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to seven and a half years in prison and five years of supervised release. Last July 26, Costa pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and using and carrying a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. On Sept. 25, 2020, prosecutors said, Costa was armed with a loaded revolver and wearing a black motorcycle helmet when he entered a Salem Five Bank branch in Tewksbury.

Lawrence Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Fentanyl Five Times Last Spring in Methuen

A Lawrence man who sold fentanyl to a “cooperating Methuen witness” five times between February and May this past year, pleaded guilty to drug dealing  this week in U.S. District Court. Forty-two-year-old Rafael Sierra-Baez pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for next March 28. Sierra-Baez was arrested and charged last May 19.