Two Islanders arrested en route to the Vineyard with heroin

Missing inspection sticker led to a traffic stop by State Police.

2
Richard Morris, shown in a 2010 drug arrest at the Steamship Authority terminal, was arrested off-Island on drug charges.

Updated May 3

On March 26, Thomas Keen was cited for several motor vehicle violations by Tisbury Police, including unregistered motor vehicle and no inspection sticker.

His failure to rectify the infractions directly led to his April 16 arrest, along with his passenger, Oak Bluffs resident Richard Morris, when State Police pulled him over on the Cape for the missing inspection sticker, and allegedly found an undisclosed amount of heroin the car.

According to the report, State Police Sgt. Mark Cyr was following Keen southbound on Route 25 when a routine registration check showed the Chevy Tahoe was registered in December of last year, but was not inspected.

Cyr reported, “Keen’s right hand trembled as he passed the license through the open window. Keen stated that he worked as a mechanic on the Vineyard. As I spoke with Keen, I observed him to be very uncomfortable in my presence. Keen’s lips were trembling, small beads of sweat were forming on his forehead, and his chest rose up and down rapidly … Keen stated that he left the Vineyard in the morning, drove to Worcester, and was going back to the Vineyard now.”

When police separated Keen, 37, and Morris, 63, they got two different accounts of the day’s activity.

Keen told police he waited around for three hours in Worcester while Morris met with a friend. “Keen stated that he drove Morris because Morris gets tired and he wanted someone to go with him,” the report said. “Morris stated that they just drove around the area for a while and only stopped at Home Depot … A check of Morris’ Board of Probation history revealed he had been arraigned and ultimately convicted of numerous narcotic offenses.”

Cyr called in a K-9 patrol to search Keen’s SUV, “due to the inconsistencies in the stories provided by Morris and Keen, the excessive nervousness of both, and Morris’ extensive narcotic history.” The drug-sniffing dog quickly led police to search the center console. “The search revealed a small plastic red container in the center console and the front passenger seat. I opened the container and observed it to be covered in a brown powder residue,” the officer wrote.” A duffel bag in the back seat contained a can of WD-40, which had a false bottom and contained “numerous empty plastic sandwich bags located secreted in the can.”

At the Bourne State Police station, police found more brown powder, apparently heroin, wrapped in a dollar bill tucked in Keen’s sock.

The police report did not specify the amount of heroin seized.

Both men were charged and released on their own recognizance after their arraignment on April 17 in Wareham District Court.

Keen was charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and possession of a Class A drug.

Morris is charged with possession of a Class A drug subsequent offense. Both men are scheduled for a pretrial hearing in Wareham District Court on Friday, May 11.
Morris was convicted on numerous drug charges after a 2011 trial that ended with a lengthy jail sentence. At the trial, Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard stated his criminal activity had spanned four decades on Martha’s Vineyard.

Updated to correct what was found in a red plastic container. – Ed.