The heroin epidemic continues to surge throughout the United States with addicts dropping like flies. The overdoses have largely been attributed to dope being mixed with the powerful anesthetic fentanyl. Massachusetts towns have been hit hard by the heroin epidemic like many areas in New England. A deadly pack of heroin bearing a stamp reading, “Hollywood” has caused five deaths in Holyoke and Chicopee, and prompted law enforcement to issue warnings. Four men have been arrested in connection with the “Hollywood” heroin,and were set to be arraigned on Monday.
As Francis Willor (bottom right), Elvis Luckham (top left) and Elvin Resto (top right) waited for their appearances in Springfield District Court, Juan Perez (bottom left), 27, pleaded not guilty to one count of heroin trafficking. Perez was busted late on Saturday night with 8,000 packets of the lethal “Hollywood” smack. According to MassLive.com:
Perez was arrested late Saturday after Springfield police received a tip that a gold minivan carrying a large amount of heroin would be pulling into the parking lot of a CVS store on Belmont Avenue, Assistant District Attorney Cary Szafranski said.
Police followed the van and arrested Perez on the corner of Sumner and Ormond streets, according to Szafranski, who said 800 packets of so-called Hollywood heroin were concealed in a fake bumper.
Perez’s attorney, Vincent Bongiorni, argued that his client did not own the van and police only found the stash after “an extensive search at police headquarters. He asked the judge to set bail at $25,000 since Perez had a valid driver’s license, a steady work history, no criminal record and posed no flight risk. However, the judge set bail at $500,000, the amount requested by the prosecution, who linked the dope Perez was caught with to multiple recent overdose deaths.
A pretrial hearing has been set for February 4.