SALEM, Mass. — A dramatic police raid that led to the arrests of four accused drug dealers, one of whom tried to escape by jumping through a window, was front-page news in Salem last Friday.
Two men apparently missed the paper that day.
William McCormack, 40, and Christopher Fletcher Gray, 37, both of Salem, are now facing charges resulting from what police are calling a “reverse sting.”
Their arrests on Friday night came after Salem police say both men called one of the accused dealers’ phones, looking for drugs — and police answered.
According to the Salem (Mass.) News, the incident began on Thursday morning when officers conducted a raid on an apartment that police say turned up several ounces of heroin and cocaine, as well as two unlicensed guns, ammunition and cash. Police say one of the tree men arrested at the scene jumped from a closed, third-floor window in an unsuccessful escape attempt.
Friday evening, when Salem Police Detectives Daniel Tucker, Kristian Hanson, and Kevin St. Pierre arrived for their evening shift, they learned that the confiscated cellphone of one of the men arrested, Yuly Ortiz, had been ringing all day.
When the next call came in, just after 7 p.m., the detectives had Patrolman Deni Gaito answer it.
The caller, who gave his name as “Bill,” wanted “one hard and one brown" -- a reference to crack cocaine and heroin. They arranged to meet the caller, later identified as McCormack, in a Wendy's parking lot.
As other officers listened through a transmitter, Gaito handed McCormack two bags of heroin.
Gaito made an excuse to take the bags back just before police approached and placed McCormack under arrest.
A couple of hours later, Gaito was back at the station when he answered another call, this time from “Chris,” who wanted three bags of cocaine, police said.
Gaito, still wearing the transmitter, agreed to meet the man later identified as Gray at the same Wendy’s parking lot. Gray, who has a lengthy criminal record that includes 189 prior charges — falsely soliciting “donations” for a cancer walk and conning neighbors into helping him break into another neighbor’s home to steal a television among them — appeared to look all over the lot for surveillance before getting into the unmarked police car, where he was handed the cocaine, police said.
As in the earlier “sting,” Gaito then asked for the bags back, and other officers moved in to make the arrest.
McCormack pleaded not guilty to possession of heroin during his arraignment Monday in Salem District Court; Gray later pleaded not guilty to possession of cocaine during his own arraignment a short time later.
Julie Manganis writes for the Salem (Mass.) News.