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Lawyer says JetBlue pilot not buying drugs

Insists his client had no heroin in body when tested

John Manwaring stood at his arraignment in Boston Municipal Court.

Associated Press

John Manwaring stood at his arraignment in Boston Municipal Court.

A JetBlue Airways Corp. pilot arrested Sunday along with five others during a Boston police investigation did not have drugs in his system when he underwent a drug test about 24 hours after being taken into custody by officers, his defense attorney said Tuesday.

John Manwaring, 42, who faces a heroin possession charge, denies allegations that he used drugs or had “any knowledge of being in possession of a controlled substance,” said Boston defense lawyer Bradford R. Stanton.

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“Anything that may have been found on him was placed there without his knowledge or consent,” Stanton said.

Police said they found a plastic bag containing a powder believed to be heroin in Manwaring’s pants pocket.

Stanton provided a copy of the drug test results, which show Manwaring gave a urine sample for private testing at 4:32 p.m. Monday, meaning that the sample was collected about a day after he was arrested by police in downtown Boston.

The test detects any substance someone may have ingested going back 48 hours, said defense attorney William E. Gens, who also represents Manwaring.

Police arrested him and Jennifer Robinson, a 31-year-old homeless woman, during a drug investigation taking place where officers say there have been multiple complaints and tips about “blatant drug use” on Boylston Street near Boston Common, according to a police report written by Officer Brian J. Linehan and filed in Boston Municipal Court.

“He’s in another city. He’s lonely and he chases some girl, and as my mother said to me, ‘If you lie down with dogs, you’re going to wake up with fleas,’ ” Gens said.

Jennifer Robinson was arraigned in court on a heroin possession charge.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Jennifer Robinson was arraigned in court on a heroin possession charge.

Robinson says that Manwaring approached her in Boston Common, asked where he could find drugs, and told her that he had a “ton of money,” said her defense attorney, Jennifer A. Doherty. Robinson then pointed out people who could sell drugs to him and that is when police approached them, Doherty said.

JetBlue removed Manwaring from duty Sunday night, but has not said when he last piloted an aircraft for the company.

Gens said Manwaring was in Boston on a layover, but he was not sure whether he piloted a plane into the city or was scheduled to fly a plane departing from Logan International Airport.

He said Manwaring has worked for JetBlue for less than a year.

Réal Hamilton-Romeo, a JetBlue spokeswoman, said that all pilots undergo physical examinations, which include drug and alcohol testing, every six months. She said the company also adheres to Federal Aviation Administration rules that subject pilots to random drug and alcohol testing.

Manwaring, a resident of Maitland, Fla., pleaded not guilty Monday to possession of heroin and was released on his own recognizance.

Officers began watching Manwaring and Robinson at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, when they saw the pair walking toward Charles Street behind two people, including Pedro Davilla, a man known to police for drug arrests, Linehan wrote.

All four walked into the Common, where officers say they huddled and then quickly separated, Linehan wrote.

Davilla and another man, Braulio Valentin, continued to walk in the park, while Manwaring and Robinson headed back to Boylston Street, where an officer saw the pilot put his right hand in his right front pocket, Linehan wrote.

Officers then approached Manwaring and Robinson, stopping them along the stretch of the Common occupied by the historic Central Burying Ground, Linehan wrote.

When officers asked Robinson to hand over the drugs she had just received, she said the drugs were in her bra, pulled out a plastic bag containing a powder believed to be heroin, and dropped it to the ground, Linehan wrote. A glass tube modified into a crack pipe was also taken from her bra, the report said.

Officers allege Robinson then went on a rant, repeatedly saying she got the drugs for Manwaring as part of a “middling” deal in which drug users arrange drug transactions in exchange for money or drugs, Linehan wrote.

Manwaring said Robinson had all the drugs, but officers recovered the plastic bag containing suspected heroin from his right front pants pocket, Linehan wrote.

He also told police that he does not use heroin or any drug and stated he was just seeking to have sex, Linehan wrote.

Robinson denies that Manwaring approached her for sex, Doherty said. “She said that wasn’t the case at all,” she said.

Robinson pleaded not guilty Monday to two charges related to heroin possession. She was later ordered held without bail pending a hearing on allegations that she violated her probation in an unrelated case, said a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney.

Davilla and Valentin were also arrested, with two others, in an alley near 20 Pine St., which is known to police as an area where drug abusers ingest drugs, Linehan wrote.

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com.
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