Adams Man Charged in Drug Importation Scheme
BOSTON — Daniel Borer of Adams is accused of importing synthetic drugs from China through the U.S. Postal Service and using them to manufacture "massive wholesale quantities of smokeable synthetic cannabinoids" for sale throughout the United States.
Borer, 42, and his alleged accomplice, postal worker Josephine McLaughlin, 65, of Stoneham, were arrested Thursday by law enforcement officials and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessey in Boston. Their cases were transferred to U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in the Southern District of New York.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman for the Southern District of New York said Jonathan Riendeau, 38, of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., who operated several websites on which he sold the drugs, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government.
The government charges that Borer and McLaughlin operated the import scheme from at least February 2014 until this month. SSC, which can be addictive, are often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to marijuana. In fact, SSC are not safe, according to government officials, and may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, more dangerous or even life-threatening.
The synthetics, colloquially referred to as K2 or Spice, were sent through the mail to locations throughout the Unitd States. Some of the SSC distributed by the scheme were branded with colorful graphics and distinctive names, including "Dead Man Walking," "Klimax," "Zero Gravity," "Twilite," "Psycho," and "Get Real." The branded SSC were sometimes marked "not for human consumption," or "potpourri." Other of the SSC were distributed in bulk quantities.
"Trafficking of synthetic cannabinoids – sometimes called K2 or Spice – poses a serious threat to public health and safety. Packaged attractively to appeal to teenagers and young adults, synthetic cannabinoids are in reality a toxic cocktail that can be very dangerous to consume," Berman said in a press release. "As alleged, Daniel Borer and Josephine McLaughlin imported massive quantities of synthetic cannabinoids and distributed them in smokeable form to retail dealers throughout the United States. Thanks to our law enforcement partners, Borer and McLaughlin have been arrested and their dangerous business has been dismantled."
Borer and McLaughlin are each charged with three counts of conspiring unlawfully to import and distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues. Each count can carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Riendeau pled guilty on Jan. 31 to six counts: three counts of conspiracy unlawfully to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues; two counts of unlawful importation of controlled substances and controlled substance analogues; and one count of unlawfully distributing a controlled substance. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The case is being investigated by the New York Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and with the aide of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force and state police assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert B. Sobelman is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. v Daniel Borer by on Scribd
Fire Destroys Adams Home
ADAMS, Mass. — A fire at a home on Water Street early Wednesday afternoon severely damaged the 80-year-old structure leaving a family homeless.
Firefighters responded to 9 Water St. at about 12:30 p.m. and were able to quickly gain control over the blaze.
"The fire was coming out so we hit it from the outside and got it under control," Adams Fire Chief John Pansecchi said. "Then we sent guys in in crews. They went upstairs. There was no fire up there then we just started hitting all of the hot spots ... It went well."
Pansecchi said the homeowner was evaluated but there were no serious injuries.
"The owner complained of a little injury and got checked out for smoke inhalation but otherwise no injuries," he said.
Pansecchi said there were three pets in the house. Two were able to escape but one is still missing.
Once the firefighters knocked down the blaze, smoke continued to billow out of the home in the dense neighborhood. It continued to smolder into the afternoon.
Much of the smoke subsided around 2 p.m.
Pansecchi said he does not believe the single-family house can be salvaged.
"From what I can tell, I haven't been in there yet, but it appears to be a total loss," he said. "There was heavy fire throughout when we got here."
Pansecchi said the cause of the fire is still under investigation and he is in contact with the state fire marshal.
North Adams and Cheshire firefighters also responded for mutual aid and the Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department covered the station.
Adams Ambulance Service present as well as Northern Berkshire EMS.
The Red Cross has also been contacted.
Crane Collision in Adams Sends One to Hospital
ADAMS, Mass. — A Thursday morning accident sent one person to the hospital and caused a spill of hydraulic fluid at Specialty Minerals Inc.
The Adams Fire Department, Adams Ambulance, and Adams Police were detailed to Columbia Street at 6:38 a.m. Thursday for report of a vehicle versus crane accident with injuries.
According to the report by the Fire Department, a box truck had struck the crane at the entrance to Specialty Minerals Inc. The operator of the box truck was injured and still in the vehicle. The crane operator did appear to be injured.
The crane was hit near its hydraulic tank, causing a large spill. "Thanks to the expertise of employees of Specialty Minerals and Adams Excavating," they grabbed booms and spread an absorbant to contain the spill to the area immediately around the accident scene," the Fire Department post on Facebook states. "I believe preventing any potential for long-term environmental effects."
Fire and ambulance personnel removed the victim from the vehicle and he was transported to the hospital (unknown condition at this time). The remaining fire personnel assisted by the above named companies start the process to clean up.
"I would like to thank the employees of Specialty Minerals and Adams Excavating for their quick response and assistance. They were able to provide the Fire Department with materials to absorb up the spill," the Facebook post states. "They had the expertise and equipment to assist in cleaning up the site and preparing for the proper removal of all the dirty absorbent. The DEP and all necessary agencies were notified as required by law."
Adams Woman Charged in Fatal Hit & Run
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An Adams woman has been charged in the hit-and-run accident last month that resulted in the death 38-year-old Jerome "Jeremy" Berard.
Debra M. Milesi, 57, of Jordan St. was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday afternoon on single counts of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident resulting in death, of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and of negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Berard, of North Adams, was found laying on the side of East Hoosac Street in Adams around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. Berard had incurred severe injuries including broken limbs and head trauma. He was taken to the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and died there a week later, on Oct. 7.
According to authorities, the officer who discovered Berard was on his way to back up another officer who had stopped Milesi near the corner of Meadow and East Hoosac, not far from where Berard was hit. Milesi was also taken to BMC in Pittsfield from which she was later released.
Berard left two children, ages 10 and 17, and a fiancee. He was a graduate of McCann Technical School and was employed by Whitman Crystal Cleaning at the time of his death.
Judge William Rota released Milesi on $1,000 bail and on the condition that she wear a GPS monitor. She is under 24-hour house arrest and cannot drive or leave the state. A pre-trial hearing has been set for Oct. 29.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Adams Police Department with assistance from state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's Office and the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Service Section of the state police.
Barn Destroyed in Early Morning Fire in Adams
Firefighters from nearly a dozen fire departments spent hours containing the blaze and preventing it from spreading to adjacent buildings and the farmhouse at Broadlawn Farm.
"The back barn was fully involved when we got here and the owners were trying to get the cows out," said Fire Chief John Pansecchi during a pause around 5:30 a.m., nearly three hours after the fire was first reported. "By the time we got here [the barns] were gone."
Pansecchi believed all or most of the dairy cattle were saved but the barn was also filled with hay that has continued to smolder and burn. He expected it would take hours to break up the bales and said they were looking for an excavator to tear the ruins apart. The cause is suspected to be electrical but he said it would be some time before it could be investigated.
In addition to the Adams Fire Department and Forest Wardens, tankers and equipment also came from Cheshire, Clarksburg, Dalton, Florida, Lanesborough, Windsor and Savoy, and Stamford, Vt. The Adams Ambulance Service and Northern Berkshire EMS were also on the scene. Trucks and vehicles lined narrow Walling Road by the farm. Readsboro, Vt., sent a tanker to standby in Stamford — the only one immediately available to cover North County.
The fire chief wasn't sure if the barn was two or three segments. It was a long structure behind the milking barn with grain storage in another area at one end.
"They've got a grain storage at the other end we're trying to protect," he said. "The immediate concern was the milking house and the grain and this barn that hasn't burned."
Tankers were filling up at water source at the bottom of Walling and East Mountain roads and a hydrant on East Road. Two portable tanks, or pools, were set up in the farm's driveway and tankers backed up to fill them and then left to replenish. That had been going on for hours and was expected to continue for some time.
"We've got probably 2,000 gallons in our trucks and it doesn't take long to go through that," Pansecchi said. Crews were looking for a third water source because using the hydrant had drained the water tank it was connected to by nearly half. "It's tough because you're frustrated for water to get here."
As firefighters continued to douse the blaze, the cows made their way to the milking barn, silhouetted against the flames. The farm has about 300 cows and has been in the family for almost a century.
"We're going to be here for a while. We have to break up all the bales of hay ... now it's going to be labor-intensive," Pansecchi said. "These guys did a great job, everybody worked well here."