Members of the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force arrested two Brockton men Wednesday who, police said, intended to set up a connection to sell heroin on the Island, where the drug commands a price triple what it is on the mainland. Police moved in following two days of nonstop surveillance that included following the men to several Island locations.
Jason Lewis, 32, and Corey Waters, 32, of Brockton were jailed Thursday following their arraignment in Edgartown District Court.
Police seized three grams of heroin, five mobile phones, and more than $1,100 in cash from a room in the Mansion House Hotel, where Mr. Lewis and his girlfriend Sonya Montrond, also of Brockton, were staying following their arrival on Sunday, Feb 10.
In court Thursday, Mr. Lewis was charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard asked Presiding Justice H. Gregory Williams to set bail at $15,000. She cited Mr. Lewis’s 15-year criminal record that included assault, distribution of crack cocaine, and violation of a restraining order, leading to three separate terms in jail.
“What’s important is the number of defaults, probation violations, and committed time,” Ms. Marshard said.
Defense attorney Rob Moriarty asked Judge Williams to set bail at $1,500, and argued that that amount would ensure his client’s return to court. “Fifteen thousand dollars bail for three grams of heroin is punishment,” Mr. Moriarty said.
Judge Williams set bail at $7,500 for Mr. Lewis. He was released on bail from the Dukes County Jail on Friday, February 15.
Mr. Waters was charged with being present where heroin was kept and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Citing the police report, Ms. Marshard said Mr. Waters had agreed to introduce Mr. Lewis to drug users on Martha’s Vineyard for a cash payment.
“These are certainly not the same, or as serious, as the charges against his co-defendant,” Ms. Marshard told the court. “But clearly, this is the drug operation of two people traveling from off Island.” She asked for $8,000 bail.
Judge Williams set bail at $1,500 for Mr. Waters. He ordered Mr. Lewis held in jail on an open warrant issued for his arrest in a case from Brockton District Court. As of Wednesday he remained at the Dukes County Jail.
Edgartown Detective Mike Snowden told The Times in a telephone conversation that the task force moved quickly Monday after learning that Mr. Lewis had checked into a room in the Mansion House, and, with introductions from Mr. Waters, who formerly lived in Edgartown, planned to sell heroin on the Island.
With the cooperation of the hotel, police moved into a room that adjoined the room Mr. Lewis and his girlfriend occupied and began watching the couple’s movements day and night.
Detective Snowden said the Island is a lucrative place to do business because dealers can sell heroin for triple the price in Brockton.
“We know that they wired a significant amount of money to Brockton,” he said.
He said Mr. Lewis became so comfortable on the Island over the course of three days that he began looking for a house to rent.
At 5:30 pm Wednesday, police were watching the hotel room when Mr. Waters arrived to join Mr. Lewis and Ms. Montrond in the room. A short time later, Mr. Waters left and police moved in, shouting “Search warrant, police.”
Police found baggies, scales, individually wrapped quantities of heroin, and a $100 bill used for a controlled drug buy, part of the $1,200 in cash police found in the room. Police questioned Mr. Waters.
“During the interview, Waters admitted that he traveled to Island with Lewis,” according to the police report. “Waters continued to say the deal was he would introduce Lewis to clientele on the Island and in return he would be paid cash. Waters stated that Lewis brought down two fingers (20 grams) of dope.”
Detective Snowden said the bulk of the heroin had been sold by the time police made the arrests. But the investigation is expected to pay dividends.
Mr. Snowden said that over the course of the surveillance police saw familiar faces of customers and new faces as well. They said they plan to follow up.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Edgartown Police station at 508-627-4343.