Judge Sends Methuen Man, 27, to Prison Two Years for Fake Pandemic Business Loans

A 27-year-old Methuen man was sentenced late last week in U.S. District Court in Boston for using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain $452,000 in pandemic business relief money and laundering the funds. Ramon Joseph Cruz Jr. was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to two years and one day in prison and three years of supervised release for obtaining a phony Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration. He was also ordered to pay restitution in an amount that will be determined at a future hearing. Last May 18, Cruz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting. According to court records, between about April and December 2020, Cruz and Darwyn Joseph conspired to use stolen identity information of U.S. citizens to apply for the loans.

N.H. State Police: Haverhill Woman Says GPS Led to Wrong-Way Driving on I-93

A 26-year-old Haverhill woman said she relied on her GPS when she ended up driving the wrong way early yesterday morning on Interstate 93 in Salem, N.H.

New Hampshire State Police said in a press release Vanessa Dubey was arrested and charged with reckless conduct, aggravated driving while under the influence and reckless operation. Troopers Tyler Duhamel and Benjamin Olmstead report at 2:20 a.m., they were traveling southbound on I-93 when they encountered a car driving northbound in the southbound lanes. They report successfully pulling the driver over as she passed the exit 1 off ramp. Troopers report Dubey said she was “following her GPS” at the time. They said the area Dubey entered the highway is unknown as Troopers were able to intercept this vehicle before any reports to 911 were made.

Methuen Traffic Stop Brings Arrest of Maine Man, Seizure of Suspected Heroin and Cocaine

A 43-year-old, Manchester, Maine, man allegedly driving “erratically” in Methuen caught the attention of a State Police trooper Sunday and ultimately brought the seizure of suspected cocaine and heroin. Trooper Matthew DeVito, assigned to the Troop A Community Action Team, was patrolling shortly after 10 p.m., Sunday, along Route 110 in Methuen. According to a report, he observed a black Chevrolet Silverado pass his cruiser erratically. DeVito followed the truck to Interstate 495 where the driver allegedly came close to a collision, prompting a traffic stop. DeVito reported the driver, Nicholas Drayton, provided “inconsistencies in his story” and the officer said he spotted signs consistent with recent use of illegal narcotics.

Federal Judge Sentences Lawrence Man to Seven Years in Prison for Being a Felon with a Gun

A 39-year-old Lawrence man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Stephen Skeirik was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf to seven years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. This past May, Skeirik pleaded guilty to the same charges. On Feb. 27, 2020, police saw Skeirik and another person involved in what appeared to be a drug deal.

Groveland Man, 36, Returns to Haverhill Court Sept. 21 to Face Child Pornography Charges

A 36-year-old Groveland man returns to court in September in connection with his arrest, alleging possession of child pornography. Groveland police issued its first public statement Friday on its July 31 arrest of James M. Gallagher, who was charged with three counts of possession of child pornography, stemming from a search warrant on. Police Chief Jeffrey T. Gillen said in a statement the Massachusetts State Police Cyber Crimes Unit received information in April that Gallagher allegedly downloaded “known child pornography files.” On July 31, Groveland Police said it applied for a search warrant, searched Gallagher’s home and seized evidence. Gallagher was arraigned in Haverhill District Court Aug. 1, where he pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Methuen Man, 45, on Alleged Drug Dealing, Gun Possession

A 45-year-old Methuen man was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Boston for allegedly trafficking counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine, unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition and using a firearm in relation of a drug trafficking offense. Shawn Hart was charged with distribution of more than 40 grams of fentanyl, possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, using a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking offense and being a felon in possession of ammunition. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date. Hart was previously arrested and charged by criminal complaint this past June. He has remained in custody since.

State Police Charge Methuen Police Officer with Child Pornography

A 51-year-old Methuen police officer was charged Tuesday morning with child pornography. Matthew Bistany was arrested at his home by the State Police Cyber Crimes Unit, with assistance from the State Police Special Tactical Operations Team, after State and Methuen Police used a search warrant. “Upon learning of these allegations, Officer Matthew Bistany was immediately placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and any internal investigation that is to follow,” Methuen Police Chief Scott J. McNamara said, adding, “These allegations in no way reflect upon the character and reputation of the men and women of the Methuen Police Department who stand committed to protecting children and continue to serve with distinction.”

The investigation began earlier this year when the Massachusetts State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received a Cyber Tipline Report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reporting the upload of child pornography images to a specific computer address. Later investigation by the State Police Cyber Crimes Unit said they connected the upload of the child sexual assault material to Bistany. He was arraigned Tuesday in Lawrence District Court.

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Three on Cocaine Dealing Involving Drugs Allegedly Stored in Methuen

Three men made court appearances Friday in connection with alleged cocaine dealing involving a Methuen residence. Forty-three-year-old Leonardo Lara and 41-year-old Leandro Martinez, both of Lawrence, and 42-year-old Merced Navarro-Morfin of Lunenberg were indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. They were charged last Thursday. Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy’s office said in a statement the matter of Lara and Navarro-Morfin allegedly involves five kilograms or more of cocaine. Court records show approximately $40,000 in suspected drug money were seized from Lara’s vehicle following a traffic stop in April 2022 in Sturbridge.