Friday, February 25, 2011

Drug dealers hope to avoid police by moving trade to rural areas in Massachusetts

Small towns in Massachusetts have become targets of drug traffickers. In Ashby, population around 3,000, "Dealers have been using quiet side roads and nearby state parks to pass cocaine and heroin to other dealers or to sell drugs to addicts, many of whom drive there from New Hampshire towns just over the border," Maria Cramer of The Boston Globe reports. (Click on Mapquest image for larger version)

The problem isn't isolated to Ashby; the drug trade is ratcheting up in other small towns around the state "where the police departments are too small to keep up with the numerous deals," Cramer writes. Ashby Detective John Dillon said of the dealers, "They’re organized and they do their homework. If I was going to sell drugs, I wouldn’t do it in front of 100 people. It’s a very isolated area. You could go to certain streets and not see a house for a quarter mile." Ashburnham Detective Robert Siano, who serves on the North Worcester County Drug Task Force, a regional unit of 11 cities and towns in the area, notes the drug dealers "meet in various locations, dead-end roads, state parks, state park parking lots. What they do is, the customer contacts the dealer and the dealer sends a runner or goes himself to meet at certain locations and exchange drugs for money."

In larger cities drug dealers are subject to wider scrutiny, and once popular drug-deal locations like shopping-mall parking lots are now likely to be covered by cameras and security personnel. GPS devices have also made it easier to plan meetings in out-of-the-way locations, Gardner Lt. John Bernard told Cramer. The remote drug deals are also likely to be exchanges between people who know each other well. "If you call me up for . . . cocaine, I’m not going to deal with you out in the woods if I don’t know you," Bernard told Cramer. "There is a relationship there." (Read more)

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