For Immediate Release - December 14, 2011

Eight Arrested in Lynn for EBT and Drug Trafficking

District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett today announced 8 arrests of individuals involved in food stamp and drug trafficking and fraud.  Four stores in Lynn were targeted in today’s raids where investigators found that individuals were able to purchase cash and cocaine using their food benefits on their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards. 

“This is an affront to all of the taxpayers of the Commonwealth as well as all those who legitimately need these benefits to care for their families, especially during these difficult economic times,” Blodgett said.  “This investigation remains ongoing and we intend to prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law.”

In November 2010, the Essex District Attorney’s Office, together with the United States Department of Agriculture, Lynn Police Department and the Essex County Drug Task Force initiated an investigation into suspected “trafficking” of food stamp benefits.  Trafficking food stamps is when a merchant allows an individual to obtain cash from their food benefits, often for a fee of 100%.  During the course of the investigation, police found that the merchants were also selling cocaine where payment was made with an EBT card.

This morning, Lynn Police, Essex County Drug Task Force detectives and agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General conducted raids under the direction of the Essex District Attorney’s Office on the following stores:  Ace Wholesale, 132 Central Avenue; MJs Wholesale, 224 Union Street; J&M Mini Mart, 159A Central Avenue and Benjys Convenience Store, 250 Chatham Street all in Lynn. 

Jean Saint Preux, 23, 53 Chatham Street, Lynn was arrested and charged with 3 counts of distribution of Class B (cocaine) substance in a school zone, illegal possession of a firearm, and ammunition and 2 counts of distribution of Class B (cocaine) for EBT credits.

 Allan Cherubin, 20, 13 Park Street, Lynn and charged with access device fraud (cash for EBT credit) and cocaine trafficking over 200 grams.  His father, Midlher Cherubin, 41, same address, was also arrested and charged with access device fraud, trafficking cocaine over 200 grams and distribution of Class B (cocaine) substance in a school zone for EBT credit.

Jayson Powell, 26, was arrested for access device fraud and trafficking cocaine over 200 grams.

Amimada Jean-Geffide, 33, 15 Whittier Street, Lynn; Amanda Repp, 24, 40 Hamilton Avenue, Lynn; Sheena White, 27, 33 Lincoln Street, Lynn and Pierre Saint Fort were all arrested and charged with multiple counts of access device fraud.

District Attorney Blodgett thanked and commended First Assistant District Attorney John Dawley, United States Department of Agriculture Special Agent Christopher Robinson, Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant Alan Zani, and Lynn Police Sergeant Richard Carrow for their painstaking investigation.