For Immediate Release - January 28, 2011

Essex Drug Task Force Swept Streets Of 63 Guns, $17.9 Million In Drugs In 2010

The Drug Task Force assigned to the Office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett made 405 arrests and swept 63 guns - including two machine guns - and a pipe bomb off the streets of Essex County in 2010.

Working in conjunction with local police departments, along with state and federal agencies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the Drug Task Force seized 465,171 dosage units of heroin, 104,498 grams of cocaine, and 2,654 pounds of marijuana and other drugs, with an estimated street value of $17.9 million.

"Our society is becoming increasingly violent, and there is a reckless disregard for the sanctity of life, especially among gang members who will use any means necessary to protect their drug turf," said District Attorney Blodgett. "I am certain that the seizure of 63 firearms and the arrests of the defendants who possessed them saved lives.

"But without question there is still much work to be done, and we are committed to fighting this scourge to make our cities and towns safer for our citizens. Drug dealers have a horrific impact the quality of life in our neighborhoods," said District Attorney Blodgett.

"I must acknowledge that we never could have realized the success we had in 2010 without such an extraordinary level of inter-agency cooperation, and for that I am extremely grateful," said District Attorney Blodgett.

In addition to heroin, cocaine and marijuana, the task force seized 24,066 ecstasy pills, 3,684 percocets, $20,000 worth of steroids, 553 OxyContin and OxyCondone pills, and lesser amounts of other drugs.

The task force, which is headquartered Lynn and Lawrence, is led by Massachusetts State Police Lt. Alan Zani. In addition to Lt. Zani the task force is comprised of eight state police officers and three Lynn police detectives.

"I am very appreciative of Massachusetts State Police Col. Marian McGovern for the staff she provides to man this task force, and to Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger for assigning three of his officers to the unit," said District Attorney Blodgett. "And Lawrence Police Chief John Romero and his department remain important partners in this war on drugs."