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.

DA Reports Haverhill Man Who Died From Gunshot Wound Took His Own Life After Police Questioning

This story has been updated with comments by Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone. A man, reported to have died of a gunshot wound to the head Tuesday afternoon on River Street in Haverhill, was a 24-year-old city resident who apparently shot himself following questioning and a foot chase by police. Carrie Kimball, spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, gave the update early Tuesday night. She said in a statement that a Haverhill Police detective saw a motorcyclist without a helmet drive up at 12:10 p.m. to a 7-Eleven gas station at 503 River St. While speaking with the motorcyclist, “the detective determined that the motorcycle was unregistered and uninsured.

Developing Story: Man Dies of Apparent Gunshot Wound to the Head on Haverhill’s River Street

See updated story here. (Additional photograph below)

An as-yet unidentified man appears to have died from a gunshot to the head around noon on River Street in Haverhill. Both Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone and Deputy Chief Stephen J. Doherty Jr. arrived on scene just after Haverhill Fire Department dispatchers called for first aid at 12:13 p.m. for an apparent gunshot victim. Firefighters and Trinity EMS went to the area of 337 River St., on the north side of the street between Hall and Ayer Streets. Indications at the scene suggested the man was pronounced dead around 12:28 p.m.

Haverhill police referred WHAV to Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s office, which typically takes responsibility for releasing details of unexpected deaths.

Judge Sentences Haverhill Man to Life in Prison for 2020 Stabbing Death at Stadium

A 21-year-old Haverhill man, found guilty last month of second-degree murder at Haverhill Stadium, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with parole after 19 years. Oscar Quinones, formerly of 22 Sunrise Drive, Bradford, was convicted in the slaying of 19-year-old Efrain Maisonet, also of Haverhill, April 7, 2020 in a parking lot behind Haverhill Stadium. Essex County Assistant District Attorney Erin Bellavia told jurors Quinones met Maisonet to fight after Quinones “felt disrespected” because Maisonet, known by his nickname “Nene,” was seeing his former girlfriend. As WHAV reported at the time, Maisonet’s girlfriend and another 19-year-old woman both said Quinones exited a car and began hitting the other teen “in the chest in a downward motion.” It wasn’t until Quinones withdrew that the women noticed a knife and Maisonet exclaimed he had been stabbed. The girlfriend told Haverhill Patrolman William Mears, “the knife was big and looked like a fishing knife.” She and other witnesses said Quinones then got back in the car and sped off.

Lawrence Man, 25, to Serve Three-Year Prison Sentence for Regional Fentanyl Dealing

Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, North Andover and other area police departments are being credited with playing roles leading to a three-year prison sentence for a Lawrence man involved in a Lawrence-based fentanyl drug trafficking organization. Last Friday, 25-year-old Elvin Mendoza of Lawrence was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris to 37 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Last June, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. In June 2021, Mendoza was indicted along with 13 others following a more than two-year investigation. According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston, Mendoza was responsible for distributing more than 300 grams of fentanyl throughout Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.