We publish, as received, the Manchester Police Department’s press release regarding one of the largest drug busts in city, New England histor. ~Publis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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CONTACT: Lieutenant Brian N. O’Keefe
Direct Line: 603-792-5430
June 29, 2015
Shooting Investigation Ends with Multi State Operation and Millions of Dollars Worth of Heroin/Fentanyl and Cash Seized
A Queen City woman was shot on Monday June 22, 2015 after an attempted home invasion at her Winter Street apartment. The shooting investigation quickly led Manchester Police Detectives on a multi jurisdictional investigation involving the following agencies; Manchester Police Department, Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Administration-New England Field Division, Massachusetts State Police, Lawrence, MA Police Department, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Andover, MA Police Department, Methuen, MA Police Department, and the Essex, MA County Sheriff’s Department.
The aforementioned agencies played a pivotal role in one of the biggest heroin and Fentanyl seizures in recent history. In light of our local epidemic regarding fatal overdoses involving heroin and/or Fentanyl the following seizures will undoubtedly save countless lives. The major seizures took place during a four day span in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts; 22 kilograms of heroin/Fentanyl with an estimated street value of $2,200,000.00. (1 kilo is 1,000 grams and has a street value of $100,000.00). Investigators also made three arrests, seized four handguns, two motor vehicles, over $226,000.00 United States currency and closed down a manufacturing plant at a Lawrence, MA duplex.
The victim of the shooting; Jeannette Hardy, 24, of Manchester, New Hampshire was initially treated for a gunshot wound on Monday June 22nd. She was allegedly shot while fleeing a possible home invasion suspect at approximately 9:10 p.m. that evening. An unknown African-American male allegedly walked into her apartment and began assaulting her. Hardy fled the apartment, but was injured by a bullet as she ran for safety.
Manchester Police detectives arrived on scene and began the first degree assault investigation. They quickly identified a large quantity of heroin inside of her Winter Street apartment, so a search warrant was granted and the following items were taken into custody; 1,929 grams of heroin (approximate street value of $192,920.00), $198,542.00 United States currency; one money counter and two vehicles; 2007 Land Rover and 2008 Audi A6. Hardy was arrested on June 24th after she was treated for her non-life threatening injuries. Hardy was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute and appeared in the 9th Circuit Court-Manchester on June 25th and posted bail. Hardy has a probable cause hearing set for July 29, 2015.
The initial seizures led police to additional targets in Massachusetts. Members of the Manchester Police Department worked on a target, later identified as Arrested; Luis Nieves, 33, of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Surveillance units from both the Manchester Police Department Special Enforcement Division and the Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration identified Nieves and followed him from Massachusetts to Manchester, NH where Manchester Police conducted a motor vehicle stop. Nieves was stopped on the west side and found to be in possession of 2,120 grams of heroin (just over two kilograms with an estimated street value of $212,000.00) on June 24th at approximately 8:00 p.m. Nieves was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute and Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Nieves appeared in the 9th Circuit Court-Manchester on June 25th. He is being held on a $250,000.00 cash only bail awaiting a probable cause hearing on July 8th, 2015. He is currently incarcerated at Hillsborough County Department of Corrections.
Investigators from the United States Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Administration worked feverishly with Massachusetts State Police, Lawrence, MA, Methuen, MA and Andover, MA police departments in an attempt to locate and apprehend another person involved in the drug investigation.
Collectively, they were able to identify the third subject arrested in the operation. He was identified as; Jose C. Casellas, 37 of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Casellas allegedly delivered three additional kilograms of heroin to an undisclosed source in Andover, MA on June 25th at 8:00p.m. Andover, MA Police officers took part in the investigation and apprehended Casellas with three kilograms of heroin/Fentanyl. The Fentanyl mixture is of great concern because it has a transdermal quality which makes it extremely dangerous for investigators to handle. Therefore, the drugs, with an estimated street value of $300,000.00, was taken into custody and sent to a laboratory in Washington, DC to test the levels of heroin and Fentanyl. Casellas was charged with; trafficking in Heroin over 200 grams and Giving a False Name During Booking. He will appear in a Massachusetts court on July 22nd and is currently being held on $1,500,000.00 bail.
A search of Casellas Lawrence Street apartment in Lawrence, MA revealed an additional $20,000.00 in United States currency. A short time later, investigators revealed a second Lawrence, MA apartment on Woodland Street. Casellas rented the Woodland Street duplex and allegedly used it exclusively as a drug mill/laboratory.
Members of the Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division Clandestine Lab team suited up in Level-A protective gear to search the Woodland Street apartment. Once inside, they located an additional 15 kilograms of Heroin/Fentanyl (estimated street value of $1,500,000.0) in bulk form. They also located multiple drug pressers, finger presses (a finger of heroin contains 10 grams and has a street value up to $500.00), blenders and other items commonly used in the manufacturing and packaging of illegal drugs, to include heroin and Fentanyl.
Due to the dangerousness of Fentanyl, we will not display the seized drugs during the press conference. We will provide pictures only as this is too dangerous to handle without proper protective gear.