Methuen Police Arrest Two in Connection with Alleged Physical Abuse of Child on School Bus

Two Lawrence women, ages 56 and 38, were arrested Tuesday by Methuen Police and charged in connection with the physical abuse of a 10-year-old child on a bus contracted with Methuen Public Schools. Nancy Vasquez, a bus monitor, was charged with assault and battery on a disabled person, while Marlene Cruz, a bus driver, was charged with permitting abuse of a disabled person, according to a statement Thursday from Methuen Police Chief Scott J. McNamara. They were arraigned Tuesday in Lawrence District Court. “It was the school department’s prompt and thorough response to a parent’s concerns that prompted this investigation,” McNamara said. The statement noted Methuen Public Schools contacted the Methuen Police Department last Friday about a School Department investigation that found that a bus monitor had physical contact with the child and the bus driver failed to intervene or report the matter.

State Police Arrest Wanted Haverhill Man and Woman After Series of Carjackings; Man Had Rifle

A man and woman, both believed to be involved in a series of armed carjackings after they fled from Haverhill Police Tuesday night, were arrested this morning by Massachusetts State Police. Thirty-five-year-old Nathan Saben and 40-year-old Jessica Tirone were arrested after State Police pursued them just after 9 a.m. from Lawrence to Dracut. Saben, who had a rifle with him, was driving a black 2012 Subaru Outback that, police allege, was carjacked in Wolfeboro, N.H. At the pair’s request, troopers took them to Lowell General Hospital where they remain under guard. This morning’s chase by State and Lawrence Police began after a State Police trooper spotted Saben driving the Subaru on South Union Street, Lawrence. He then fled onto Essex Street, Route 110 westbound into Dracut and was stopped along Little Merrimack Avenue in Dracut.

Police Searching for Armed Man and Woman Who Fled Haverhill, Engaged in Carjackings

Police are looking for a 35-year-old Haverhill man, considered armed and dangerous, and his female accomplice who allegedly fled Haverhill and attempted a series of carjackings in Salem, N.H.

Massachusetts State Police report Haverhill Police followed a white Kia, believed to have been driven by Nathan Saben of Haverhill, just after 10 p.m., along Route 97 towards Salem, N.H. Haverhill ended the pursuit when the car drove over the state line into Salem. Moments later, Salem, N.H., dispatch received calls for attempted carjackings by a male and female, armed with a rifle, and driving a white car. They said there were two attempted carjackings on Main Street, Route 97, in Salem, N.H., where a rifle was displayed. In both cases, the victims managed to escape with their cars. A third carjacking attempt was reported at the intersection of Main Street and Geremonty Drive in Salem.

Grand Jury Indicts Teens—Ages 14 and 15—in Murder of a 19-Year-Old Lawrence Woman

Two teens—ages 14 and 15—were indicted last Thursday by a grand jury for the murder of a 19-year-old Lawrence woman. Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker said Friday indictments against 14-year-old Jobe Santiago and 15-year-old Jayden Torres, both of Lawrence, are accused of the Sept. 6 shooting and killing of Angie Aristy. Santiago’s name, despite his age, was previously released when prosecutors used their “statutory authority” to try him as an adult. Officials said initially a second juvenile was charged with assault with intent to rob in connection with the incident. Besides murder, Santiago and Torres were both indicted as Youthful Offenders on one count each of armed robbery.

Grand Jury Indicts Former Methuen Police Chief Solomon, Officer Fountain for Fraud, Corruption

Former Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon and former Methuen Police Officer Sean Fountain were indicted Thursday by a statewide grand jury convened at the request of the attorney general’s office. The indictments stem from a request last January by Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker for a joint investigation with the state attorney general’s office. Tucker said in a statement, “In January, after review of various reports from the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission and Office of the Inspector General’s Office outlining past serious misconduct by Methuen Police Department officials, District Attorney Paul Tucker contacted state counterparts at the attorney general’s office to form a partnership to further investigate. This resulted in a month’s long investigation and grand jury proceedings, resulting in multiple indictments.”

Methuen Mayor Neil Perry and Police Chief Scott J. McNamara applauded the legal movement. Perry called it “truly a watershed day in the history of the City of Methuen,” adding the indictments against each “underscores that no one is above the law.” McNamara said, “One of my most pressing priorities since my first day as police chief has been our work to regain the trust of our community.”

The indictments arise from Solomon’s elevating part-time, intermittent officers into full-time positions in defiance of civil service laws and subsequent efforts to deceive others into believing Fountain graduated from a police academy when he had not.

Federal Judge Sentences Haverhill Man, 26, to Eight Years in Prison for Drug Dealing

A 26-year-old Haverhill man was sentenced this week in federal court in Boston for distributing cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl and conspiring to distribute fentanyl and cocaine. Elijah Declet was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to eight years in prison and four years of supervised release. Declet pleaded guilty March 29. Declet was charged in November 2021 along with 12 others in connection with a large drug conspiracy centering around the Gangster Disciples in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen. The investigation, which began in August 2020, intercepted communications between gang leaders, members and drug suppliers relating to their alleged distribution of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and Suboxone in Massachusetts, Maine and southern New Hampshire as well as into Essex County Jail.

Haverhill Man, 19, Pleads Guilty in Federal Court for Role in Stealing 11 Pistols, Rifle from Dealer

A 19-year-old Haverhill man is the latest to be sentenced in federal court in Concord, N.H., for his role in conspiring to steal firearms from a dealer. U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young said Gary Ortiz Jr., 19, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante to 21 months in prison and two years of supervised release.  Ortiz was also ordered to pay $5,100 in restitution. As WHAV reported earlier, Ortiz pleaded guilty May 1. He and Jaythean Diaz of Lawrence were charged with breaking into Second Amendment Outdoors in Derry, N.H., and stealing 11 pistols and one rifle. They were indicted last year.

Methuen Police Arrest Two on Alleged Fentanyl and Crack Cocaine Dealing

Methuen police last week seized fentanyl and crack cocaine and arrested two for alleged drug dealing. Methuen Police Chief Scott J. McNamara said Friday the department’s Street Crimes Unit was alerted when officers saw several people “acting suspiciously” at 10:40, Wednesday morning, in a parking lot on Haverhill Street. After watching them for several hours, detectives saw what they believed to be a drug deal inside of a local restaurant. They arrested 42-year-old Jose Alcantara of Lawrence and 52-year-old Grady Fox of Lewiston, Maine, and charged both with trafficking 100 to 200 grams fentanyl and possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute. Alcantara was also charged with possession of a class a substance with intent to distribute.