Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force arrests two on heroin charges

Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force arrests two on heroin charges

by -
Roan W. Elgart (left) and Luke Depriest, faced heroin charges at their arraignment Friday in Edgartown District Court. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Two Martha’s Vineyard men were arraigned on heroin charges Friday in Edgartown District Court, following the seizure on Thursday, March 14, from a West Tisbury house of 14 grams of heroin, illegal prescription narcotics, and cash. Police made the arrests acting on a search warrant.

At his arraignment Friday, the court entered not guilty pleas for Roan W. Elgart, 37, of West Tisbury on charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of prescription narcotics, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

The court entered not guilty pleas for Luke T. Depriest, 33, of Oak Bluffs, on charges of being present where heroin is kept, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

The Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force, assisted by Chief Dan Rossi and members of the West Tisbury Police, raided the house at 67 Skiff Lane on Thursday.

According to Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard, after police entered the house, Mr. Elgart tried to flee, but police subdued him after a brief struggle. They found 14 grams of heroin in his pockets. They also seized a small amount of marijuana, illegal prescription narcotics, and $1,300 in cash.

Ms. Marshard cited a long criminal record for Mr. Elgart, including jail sentences served, violations of probation, and defaulted court appearances, as she argued for $20,000 cash bail.

“I count in excess of 15 violations of probation and 13 defaults,” Ms. Marshard said. Mr. Elgart has criminal convictions on Martha’s Vineyard, in Boston, and in Brookline dating back more than a decade.

Defense attorney Rob Moriarty also addressed Mr. Elgart’s criminal record in his argument for $1,000 bail.

“This is the record of a drug addict,” Mr. Moriarty said. “It’s a vicious and uncompromising addiction. He needs medical care. He was able to speak with me, and he understands what’s going on, but he’s very sick.”

Edgartown District Court Presiding Justice H. Gregory Williams set bail at $15,000, and ordered Mr. Elgart back to court on March 22. As of Wednesday he remained in custody at the Dukes County jail.

Ms. Marshard asked that Mr. Depriest be taken into custody on a probation violation. He is on pre-trail probation in a separate 2012 case, in which he is charged with dealing prescription narcotics.

Ms. Searle argued for Mr. Depriest’s release pending a probation hearing next week. She said that police did not find any drugs on or near him during the raid.

According to an affidavit offered in court, police found a burnt spoon with brown residue and a makeshift tourniquet, items commonly used by heroin addicts who inject the drug, near Mr. Depriest.

On the probation violation, Judge Williams ordered Mr. Depriest released until the probation hearing, but ordered him to continue drug screening with the probation department.

Ms. Marshard and defense attorney Ryan Searle agreed on a recommendation of $500 bail for Mr. Depriest on the current drug charges, which Judge Williams accepted. He was later released on bail.

Drug task force investigators targeted both men in their investigation and say they believe both play a part in a large scale heroin operation in which narcotics are smuggled onto the Island and sold, primarily in Edgartown.


  1. Try and tell me that profiling wasn’t part of this arrest, it ought have been. Cheers to the Drug Task Force and West Tisbury PD. These two are in need of help and hopefully on the first stage of that journey with a conviction.

    1. Sorry,, the only help they need is being locked up accordingly for the crimes committed. Tired of bleeding hearts. They made their choices now deal with the consequences.

    2. MV probation system is dysfunctional. They walk in see probation officer, tell him what he wants to hear go downstairs pay a fee then out and off to deal. Not much accountability here. Just yep ok pay as you go out. How about regular weekly drug testing and if dirty go directly to jail do NOT pass go??

  2. These two are the poster boys for — Say No to Drugs!! Every school child should see these two and let them know the consequence of taking and dealing drugs.

  3. I agree with Barb. We all make decisions in life and for every action there is a reaction. News flash….” Don’t do drugs!” It is no secret that you could end up like these two characters. It is a shame. The bleeding heart excuse that they are ” sick” doesn’t fly with me. We make choices everyday and most of us walk a fine line because the quality of our lives and our loved ones depend on it. Stop the excuses and come to grips with the fact that alot of people are self centered and know that there are advocates out there that will condone their bad behavior because they are….. … convenient……….”SICK”. Knock it off and lets keep the bad choices folks off of the streets and I guarantee that this world will be a safer place. I love the Vineyard. Lets rise above and stop compromising the law abidding citizens rights by calling an Ace an Ace. Bad people doing bad things. There it is cut and dry. Put them away and lets clean up this cancer in our society.

  4. Sad as sad can be. I remember when Roan was a little boy and first came to the island. What a sweet little boy he was.

    1. Wow….What happened ? I believe children aren’t born bad …Very sad. thank you for stepping up and telling your story…Roan, has a Mother and a Father, maybe siblings… I don’t know the family situation..Let’s hope he gets the help he needs before he goes to prison…

      1. He has all of those. Addiction to heroin or crack or meth creates monsters from the meek. I don’t know much about his past arrest record, and if it included any violent crimes, though one could reasonably argue that even selling hard drugs to others to pay for one’s addiction by definition is a violent crime. Absent violent crime, an addict needs treatment, not prison.

  5. Its sad I’ve known Luke since the days of the Oak Bluffs Elementary School being on school street. And even though he is knuckle head I always thought he was a nice kid. We all make mistakes and i feel that this is a big one, but its sad sometimes when you see a familiar face locked up in this crap, in the locks of addiction. I hope these guys learn from this…but if my gut is right they wont.

  6. Semmelt you are right. Hence the problem…..I believe that it is no secret that sticking needles in your arms and injecting “something” into your body is BAD. It is also not a secret that you more than likely will become addicted to that something. So when people decide to do this for the first time, considering all of the knowledge out there, they are well aware of the likely consequences. Not to mention that it is against the law. My problem with this type of behavior is that these are the kind of folks that are breaking into homes, stealing anything that isn’t nailed down, and feeding off of our tax dollars (etc.) all in the name of addiction. It makes it a crappy world for the rest of us. I would rather have some of that tax money, that we pay so much of, keep these people off of the streets that way when I get home after a day of work I don’t have to deal with my door or window kicked in because someone with addiction felt that they were entitled to invade my home and take something of mine. Once again, some people choose to do bad and they will not change. That is just the way it is. From the moment we get up in the morning life is about choices. Rehabilitation is a nice word but not a reality most of the time. Lets get back to basics and protect the citizens that are trying so hard to reverse the decline of this once great nation of ours. Stop the neddless pandering and destructive enabling. I am just a person who is tired of people ( politicians, lazy citizens either legal or illegal) taking this country in a really bad direction.

  7. Wow that guy dont look good. Its pretty apparent hes lost his way and can no longer care for himself. What happened to the alcohol and drug programs at the hospital? Can you still go there for help?

    1. the only program the hospital has is that’s where the pill poppers get their scrips,I think that AA.still have meetings at the chapel but it’s not a hospital program

  8. Drugs are a HUGE problem on the island. The amount of addicts is HUGE! Some by their own choice,some by “i’ll just try it once” and MANY by dr.scripts. The island NEEDS a rehab! IF we had real help here,i think it would make a huge difference,meetings can’t do it alone,sending to Gosnold most of the time doesn’t work,they are there for 5 days and released when they are still craving badly. I do not and never have done drugs but the addict number on Island is in the THOUSANDS!! Yes thousands,some of you will shake your head like i’m wrong,well i m not..Just about everyone on this island if not everyone, has someone in their life that has a drug problem or uses drugs,and if you say not me?! Well you are either blind or in is everywhere,even where you never thought it would be,,addiction isn’t for a certain group,drugs are at school readily available,yes all to your ,poor,young old,working,unemployed..we need a rehab and we need it now!! I know,it don’t look pretty,but niether does your family member or friend in a casket..yes it’s ones choice to start using,but when they realize what they’ve done,and want to stop and better’s not so easy,sad sad sad. I know i will be called a “bleeding heart” but guess what..i am a realist with a heart ;)

    1. no one needs a defence lawyer here,on the island,our prosecuter(Ms.Marshard)never prosecutes anyone,6 months probation and 8 hours community service is her version of harsh punishment,and then people wonder why we have so much crime here,we need to get rid of these bleeding heart liberals and get someone that’s not afraid to send crimminals to prison where they belong

      1. If that is truly the case, and I am sure that it is, it’s no wonder why the islands crime problems are escalating. Let us get back to the way that it should be. Make the streets safe for the law biding citizens by implementing serious consequences for those that make bad choices and continue to do so.

      2. Thank you …It truly bothers me how the law of the land does not apply to MV crimes..Disbarred Lawyers …Walk….Young adults (21) and over having a beer on the beach is against the law ..Open container “Law” serve time…However not long just costly …. MV is amazing , beautiful and quaint… Everyone needs to step up and protect our children and the Island….

        1. you want to trow adults in jail for having a beer on the beach ? great way to promote tourism.

      3. The proof that you are wrong on your first point is that the jail is near capacity.
        And let me point out a little fact about the town you claim is most liberal (west tisbury) . First, I agree that w.t is the most liberal town on island voting statistics back that up.. But there is a funny little inconvenient fact about west tis that does not support your idea that liberals are part of the blame for crime because they are “bleeding hearts” that is that west tis has the lowest crime rate of island towns (aquinah stats are not available) and is WAY below state averages and WAY WAY WAY below national average.

        1. Just because W.T. is populated by a majority of liberals doesn’t change the fact that the progressive mentality of the left in our country is having a negative affect in the more densely populated cities, towns,(etc.)

          1. Yes I will. For the record I am an Independent but I have a big problem with the advocates (left wing libs) for folks who don’t even try to pull their own weight and are always relying on the government for “free” stuff. The state of Massachusetts, as you well know, is the give me state. You need food because you don’t want to work, here is an EBT card. Need anything medical, you can get it for free while the hard working tax payer more than likely has to pay at least a co-pay for the same thing. If you need a place to live because you are not responsible enough to hold a job, the government will give it to you along with heat and electricity. How about a cell phone? The government will give you one because they wouldn’t want you to miss that all important call from someone looking to hire you. ( that one cracks me up) Look at public housing. It is the mecca for irresponsible behavior. I know because I work off island and deal with this nonsense on a daily basis. There are people who skate through life by taking advantage of the things that others REALLY need. These are just some of the things that our liberal friends think is just fine. The left thinks that folks are” entitled” to the same things that the hard working folks are. Not in my book. By the way, if you make more money than me you deserve it and I am not privy to your income. I should strive to be more successful. Did I define negative affect for you well enough? I can elaborate even more if need be. I just believe that the left wing is trying to help some but hurting many. Just take a trip off island and visit a housing project in N.B. , By the way, I was brought up in the projects in New Bedford back in the 70’s. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and have earned everything that I own.

      1. Hard to believe that there is “money” to be made in this on the Island. Either the customer base is far greater and broader than anyone may suspect or a small base of customers can provide a high level of repeat and a high level of revenue. I would be surprised if either one is true. So then when you look at the huge penalties, the dangerous aspects of it, the reality that you will be in a business a very short time, the dangers to your health. The “money” that is made in these endeavors is the classic definition of “chump change”.

        I think what we are really looking at are addicts, deep in the throes of their addictions, desperate to find a “scheme” to offset the expense of their own addictions. They should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but they should be treated and hopefully healed of their tragic and ugly addiction.

        God help them and all the others on the Island that are posessed by this addiction. I hope the PD cast a very wide net around all the known associates and aquaintances of these men and these circles get arrested asap.

  9. Why are crimes committed on the Island not punished the same way in the rest of the U.S.A. ? These two men are a menace to everyone .. However , they are very sick and need treatment in an OFF ISLAND real program .. Pathetic … Plus some defense lawyer provided by the state will do his or her magic and set them free.. Awful !!!

  10. It’s nice to see so many people agreeing on something the # of up votes shows that we all agree on this issue. Even one of those up votes for very annoyed is mine!

    This is not pot that we are talking about here. This is nasty stuff, and it ruins lives. I am reminded of those ads about the egg and the frying pan. Here is the best one —
    It’s really powerful. If you have kids, show it to them, talk to them. Don’t be afraid to confront someone you think is going down a bad path. We all see it, we know how bad it is. As a community, we can be more effective in educating at risk people.

    We know how hard it is to break addictions. And it’s not cheap to have people in rehab, or jail.

    This is not a problem caused by liberals or conservatives, lax laws or enforcement of those laws. This is a problem caused by ignorance.

  11. I voted every comment on this thread up, Except one from Jaws and one from James, ( they both posted multiple) That guy needs help, If he dose not accept it and abide by our laws, Well, he wont be here to bother us for much longer by the looks of him. Well done getting them off the streets.

  12. Actually many of them do believe in evil, and think the Constitution as written defines that evil.

  13. Where do you get the idea that liberals think the constitution is evil ?
    I for one think it is a great piece of work. And I am liberal liberal liberal

  14. you can only be talking about the patriot act. I do recall there were a few democrats that went along with that. or suspend habeas corpus, do witetaps without court orders, target people with drones, –first civilian deaths occurred feb 4 2002.( I don’t care if they were americans or not, they were innocent people) . I like the constitutional right for people to marry who they want, travel where they want (including cuba) , build any kind of church they want (including mosques) and express themselves in any maner they want -(including letting Nazi’s have a legal march in Skokie Illinois or my right to burn a flag that I paid for.) AND the right of every law abiding citizen to own guns. Now, I may not agree with things like the Skokie march in 1997, but I did agree with the Selma march in 1965. Both had a constitutional right. When you get into generalizing about a certain group of people that don’t support the constitution you get on thin ice my friend. I am sure that I can find 5 things that you support that are clearly unconstitutional, you can likely find similar amounts that I support. And again, I will defend your right to bear arms. The point is that we are all here together, and the constitution bonds us.
    Please do not use it as a wedge to drive us apart.

  15. I agree with each one of your points, and I don’t limit them to only those which you mentioned. Don’t misunderstand me: Democrats and Republicans alike crap on the Constitution all the time. However, your last sentence, “the point is that we are all here together, and the constitution bonds us” is pure fantasy, or perhaps 200 year old history. Progressives, statists – whatever you want to call them – have chipped away across the decades through coercion and particulary judicial activism to all but obliterate the Constitution.

    Case in point (among hundreds): The establishment clause in the Bill of Rights. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”

    The intent is pretty clear and pretty unequivocal on those words alone, and made moreso in the supporting (though not legally binding) words in the writings of the founders. Congress may not establish an official “American” religion, such as the Church of England, which, in its day, was the link between God and the King.

    The Constitution says nothing about prayers in school, manger scenes at Christmas on public property, singing Silent Night in our local high school, or invoking God to help the football team beat the other guys silly.

    So if some kind of religious issue arises and is brought to court, all a judge need do is ask two questions: First, “was it Congress which legislated whatever the issue is?” If the answer is “no” then the matter is Constitutional with respect to religion. End of story.

    If the answer is “yes” a second question must be asked, “does this Congressional legislation constitute the establishment of a federal religion?” If the answer is “no,” end of story. Constitutional.

    And the third question, if connected to “Congressional legislation,” is “does the matter prohibit the practice of other religions?” If the answer is “no,” end of story, Constitutional again.

    History, however, has played out very differently. With activist judges (and particularly the bullying of the ACLU in the last two generations) twisting and torturing language to make almost anything Christian counter to the Constitution, we have now a country as an inverse to what the founders wrote.

    Statists have used the Constitution to divide us, not bond us.

  16. I like it so much better when you say something intelligent. And I am not being sarcastic. very well put.
    I agree with your commentary about religious issues for the most part.
    Your first question takes things literally and if congress doesn’t pass it , it seems to be a non issue.

    The problem however, is that local governments are de facto extensions of the feds. Therefore, they cannot discriminate just because they are not congress. I think you would agree that the town of tisbury could not ban a religion just because they are not congress.

    I have no problem with prayer in schools, but some people think the requirement to pray is coercive when it applies to children. I would like it if the school had prayers to jesus on monday, Allah on tuesday, YHWY on wed Buddha on thursday and Friday was for the druids, devil worshipers and atheist. They could pray to David Koresh for all I care.

    But you know, if it was mandated by “activist judges” that your 7 year old was REQUIRED by the local school board to get on a mat, face mecca, bow down and say prayers to allah, you might not like that.
    So it makes sense to me to avoid a whole lot angry people complaining about which god their kids are praying to, and just ban that REQUIREMENT outright. And any kid that wants to pray can pray to whatever god they want silently in their own head.

    You know, the culture changes. The people who wrote the constitution owned slaves, never imagined a woman would vote, much less a black one, and just 50 miles from here a local government was burning witches.
    But, we still have the constitution. While the words don’t change, our interpretation of them does. And that gives us a commonality that is really valuable.

    Again, thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  17. Always nice “talking” with you Don, but banning Constitutionally protected liberties because they might make some people angry is not how things should go. There would be no end to the banning, which, reminds me of something clever I read about the future under Obama: Everything will be either prohibited or mandated.