Three people have been indicted for drug trafficking or gun crimes, and dozens more are facing arrest, as Suffolk County prosecutors and Boston Police crack down on the rise of violent crime in the troubled area of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury last week returned 36 indictments against Jay Candelario, 40, of Lowell; Dale Clarke, 24, of Boston; and Robert Lewis, 56, of Boston, according to a statement issued Monday by District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
“These individuals are each accused of preying on and profiting from the vulnerability, desperation, and afflictions of others. Further, their actions have significantly impacted the community where they sold their deadly products,” Rollins said in a statement. “We will not tolerate the repeated infliction of harm on our neighborhoods and vulnerable members of our community.”
More than 40 additional arrest warrants have been issued for other people for crimes committed in the Newmarket Square area as part of the same effort to clean up the area.
According to the statement, Candelario sold drugs in front of a Boston police officer in February. When he was arrested, he allegedly had a loaded gun with a feeding device capable of holding 15 rounds. He was initially arraigned in District Court, where he pleaded not guilty; last week’s indictments kick his case up to Superior Court, which handles serious charges. He was indicted on charges including fentanyl trafficking and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Clarke allegedly repeatedly sold drugs to undercover police officers. Police later allegedly found three guns in his house, along with a stolen ballistic vest and supplies for packaging drugs for distribution. He was indicted on charges including trafficking fentanyl and cocaine, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Lewis is accused of repeatedly taking part in drug transactions, and was indicted on charges including trafficking fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
The indictments and arrests come as part of a long-term effort by law enforcement and city officials to address the crime and safety hazards in the Mass. Ave. and Melnea Cass area, which has for years been plagued by open drug dealing, crime, and drug use. The area is a gathering place for people suffering from addiction, who often seek treatment or shelter in the neighborhood, and who are easy targets for people selling drugs.
Rollins’s office has been meeting weekly with Boston police to try to do two things: hold people accountable for crimes, and connect those who are struggling with addiction, physical or mental health problems, poverty, or homelessness, with services that can help them, according to the release.