A frantic, emotional scene broke out in Dorchester Municipal Court Monday, as family and friends of two accused drug dealers protested a judge’s bail decision, then clashed outside the courtroom.
Pedro Valdez, 33, and Lasonia Gathers, 27, were arrested over the weekend on felony drug and weapons charges after a search of Valdez’s Dorchester home uncovered measuring scales, multiple plastic bags containing heroin and cocaine, and a loaded semi-automatic handgun inside a child’s bassinet, according to police.
On Monday, a Dorchester Municipal Court judge set high cash bail for Valdez and Gathers, sparking an angry reaction from their families.
A relative of Gathers shouted expletives at court officers and Judge Serge Georges Jr., while another man charged at media photographers. Eventually, court officers had to clear the courtroom.
Even before the case was called, friends and relatives wept in the gallery. When Valdez and Gathers arrived in handcuffs for their hearing, some jeered at prosecutors.
After the hearing, emotions continued to run high, and police had to break up a verbal and physical argument that broke out among family members across the street from the courthouse.
Valdez and Gathers, who are both from Dorchester, face a host of felony drug and weapons charges. Valdez was ordered held on $125,00 cash bail and if released must forfeit his passport, wear a GPS monitor, and remain on house arrest. Gathers was held on $75,000 cash bail with the same conditions.
According to pictures released by investigators, the gun was found strapped behind a pink baby hammock.
Members of the Dorchester Neighborhood Drug Control Unit were “stunned and astounded” by the discovery, according to a police statement.
Valdez has a 5-month-old daughter, his defense lawyers said.
Astead W. Herndon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AsteadWH