O.B. Police make fentanyl bust

Oak Bluffs Police have made a suspected fentanyl arrest on Dec. 30. — Rich Saltzberg

Oak Bluffs Police arrested a man on fentanyl and gabapentin charges on Dec. 30. 

Jake Merrill was arraigned Tuesday on possession with the intent to distribute a Class A substance (fentanyl) and possession of a Class E substance (gabapentin). Merrill pleaded not guilty. Edgartown District Court Judge Benjamin Barnes set Merrill’s bail at $1,200. Ahead of his ruling, the prosecution argued for a higher bail. “On Dec. 30, officers of the Oak Bluffs Police Department observed a hand-to-hand drug transaction take place between the defendant and another party,” Assistant District Attorney Thomas Moakley told the court. When police went to speak to Merrill, he allegedly pulled a bag of what was suspected to be a drug out of his pocket and threw it away, Moakley said. Officers subsequently executed a search warrant on the defendant’s residence, and found plastic bags suspected of containing drugs. Per an Oak Bluffs Police Department Facebook post, members of the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force and a State Police K9 unit assisted in executing the warrant. 

Officers also found cash, scales, and pill bottles, Moakley said. Moakley requested $10,000 bail. Moakley noted the charges may be augmented to include trafficking once a weight for what was seized can be established.

Merrill’s bail attorney, Robb Moriarty, said the court should only consider what his client is currently charged with, not prospective charges, when weighing bail. Moriarty also said his client had no prior court defaults, and has “extensive family ties on Martha’s Vineyard.” Moriarty called for his client’s release on personal recognizance. 

Merrill is expected back in court Jan. 30.