Backed by the regional SWAT team, Andover police today raided an apartment where they arrested three men after allegedly discovering a loaded pistol, 137 grams of suspected heroin, and $24,000 in cash, Andover police said.
The search of the Bulfinch Drive apartment began around 6 a.m. and included support from the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT team because Andover detectives had been told the suspects might be armed, Andover police said.
Inside the apartment, police found Luis E. Hiciano, 22, of Andover, Joselin Eliezar Reina-Mercedes, 23, of Methuen, and Luz D. Made, 21, of Lawrence. All three were arrested and all three were charged with trafficking over 100 grams of heroin, a charge that carries a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, police said.
Hiciano is also charged with possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony and distribution of heroin.
The three men are expected to be arraigned today in Lawrence District Court.
Andover police have now made a total of five arrests related to heroin trafficking this year, as well as more than 48 arrests for heroin or opioid possession, a record number for the suburban community, officials said.
In a statement, Andover Police Commander Charles E. Heseltine said officers have also been trained in using Narcan and the department also now has installed a collection box for people to drop off unused prescription drugs.
“We are aggressively enforcing the drug laws, but at the same time, we are mindful that the nation is not simply going to arrest its way out of the heroin crisis,” Heseltine, the second in command, said in the statement. “We must go after heroin at the sources and on the streets, but we also choose to take steps to prevent drug use in the first place and to prevent the loss of life.”Kiera Blessing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.