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JetBlue pilot faces heroin charge

Police allege he obtained drug on Boston Common

When Boston police officers were surveying the stretch of Boylston Street between Boston Common and Washington Street for drug activity on Sunday evening, they took notice of four people walking toward Charles Street, including a pilot for JetBlue Airways Corp.

But it wasn’t John Manwaring, of Maitland, Fla., who piqued the officers’ interest. Rather they focused on the company they say he was keeping: Pedro Davilla, a man known to police for drug arrests, and Jennifer Robinson, a 31-year-old woman who officers consider to be a drug user, according to a police report written by Officer Brian J. Linehan and filed in Boston Municipal Court.


Manwaring, 42, was among six people who appeared in court Monday after being arrested during a drug investigation taking place where officers say there have been multiple complaints and tips about “blatant drug use” taking place near St. Francis House, a day shelter on Boylston Street, Linehan wrote.

Manwaring was charged with possession of heroin and released on his own recognizance after appearing before Judge Michael Coyne. He declined to comment, saying he could not answer any questions without his lawyer present.

Police started watching Manwaring at about 5:30 p.m., when they saw him and Robinson walking together behind Davilla and Braulio Valentin, Linehan wrote. All four walked into the Common, where officers say they huddled together and then quickly separated, Linehan wrote.

Davilla and 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.

An officer asked Robinson to hand over the drugs she had just received, Linehan wrote. Robinson 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 transaction in exchange for money or drugs, Linehan wrote.

Manwaring alleged that Robinson had all the drugs, but officers recovered a plastic bag containing powder believed to be heroin from his right front pants pocket, Linehan wrote.

“I didn’t get the drugs; she did,” Manwaring allegedly told police. He told officers a “Spanish kid” provided the drugs and that he cannot take drugs because he’s a commercial airline pilot, Linehan wrote.

Manwaring said he flew into Boston at about noon on Sunday and was staying at the Boston Park Plaza, the report said. He said he was scheduled to fly out of Logan International Airport Monday at 7:30 a.m.

“Manwaring stated that he doesn’t use heroin or any drug and stated he was just seeking to have sex, Linehan wrote.

JetBlue said in a prepared statement that Manwaring was removed from duty pending outcome of the case.

The company said that it complies with Federal Aviation Administration and US Department of Transportation rules governing drug testing for its employees, including its pilots.

“All pilots are drug tested; all crewmembers must receive a negative drug test before they are offered employment with JetBlue, and we adhere to the FAA-approved random drug and alcohol testing program,’’ the company said in the statement.


JetBlue would not respond to questions from the Globe about when Manwaring was last in the cockpit of a JetBlue aircraft.

“Unfortunately, due to the nature of this active investigation, I will have to refer you to the local authorities for additional details,’’ Réal Hamilton-Romeo, director of corporate communications, wrote in an e-mail to the Globe.

The FAA also said it was aware of Manwaring’s arrest. A woman who picked up the telephone at a listing for Manwaring’s mother hung up on a reporter.

In court, Robinson pleaded with Manwaring to bail her out.

“I’ve been here all day,” she said.

Robinson, who prosecutors say has a charge pending in Chelsea District Court for common night walking, was held without bail on an unrelated probation matter.

She is due back in court on Tuesday.

Valentin and Davilla were also arrested along 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.

They also appeared in court on Monday and bail was set. All six are due back in court on Aug. 13.

The neighborhood where the arrests took place has been the site of “hundreds of drug arrests” resulting in illegal narcotic seizures and criminal convictions, Linehan wrote.

From Jan. 1, 2012, to the present, there have been 213 drug arrests on Boston Common and the surrounding area, including Tremont, Park, and Boylston streets, according to Sergeant Michael McCarthy, a police spokesman.


A man who works nearby, Adam Lis, said it is alarming how many drug users and dealers occupy the area, given the number of expensive, high-rise residential buildings sprouting up in the neighborhood.

“I cannot believe that this amount of illegal drug activity continues,” said Lis, who works at Lambert’s Marketplace at the corner of Boylston and Washington streets. “It’s alarming the amount of crack cocaine that is sold, bought, and purchased on this street.”

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Zachary T. Sampson contributed to this report. Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@
. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.