AP NEWS

Cases Tied to Lowell Drug Probe Dropped

December 18, 2018

LOWELL -- As Derek Lemire pulled into his driveway in the middle of the afternoon on June 13, several detectives descended upon him.

The Lowell police detectives told Lemire to get out of his car and subsequently searched him, finding a pill bottle in his pocket, according to Lemire’s statements in an affidavit.

The bottle was for his Vitamin D prescription, he told officers. The officer found Xanax pills inside the bottle and arrested Lemire, 40, of Dracut, on Bridge Street.

Lemire then told police where he kept his drugs and that he sold drugs to support his habit. Police discovered 71 white Xanax pills, 43 green Xanax pills, 46 30 mg oxycodone pills, 44 80 mg oxycontin pills, and 10 Gabapentin pills.

However, Lemire’s defense attorney recently filed a motion to throw out this evidence, claiming it was the result of an illegal search. In wake of this search, Lemire made incriminating statements, which also must be suppressed, his attorney argued.

“I did not consent to the search of the pill bottle taken from my person,” Lemire stated in the affidavit.

Lemire’s case is one of 15 cases at Lowell District Court that have been dismissed in the last month because of an investigation into detectives in the Special Investigation Section for potential inconsistencies with evidence. Twelve of the dismissed cases involved drug charges, while three involved firearms and ammunition charges.

Three detectives from that unit are on paid administrative leave while a recently-appointed Board of Inquiry investigates. The Sun has learned those detectives are Nicholas Dokos, Rafael Rivera and David Lavoie.

Police Superintendent Kelly Richardson stressed that the 15 cases are being dismissed without prejudice.

“If the investigation clears the officers, we’ll be able to reapply the charges and prosecute these 15 cases,” Richardson said Monday.

The Police Department’s Board of Inquiry is comprised of Capts. James Hodgson, Daniel Larocque and Mark LeBlanc.

“There’s still some work left to be done,” Richardson said. “Obviously the sooner the better, so we can move forward.”

The Police Department announced the formation of the Board of Inquiry, a seldom-used board that goes beyond the normal internal affairs investigation, on Dec. 7. It came as a result of information received from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, regarding a fentanyl and gun arrest from March.

In that case, Paul Aaron, 31, was arraigned in Lowell District Court on charges of trafficking in fentanyl over 10 grams, four counts of possession of a large capacity firearm/feeding device, trafficking over 200 grams of heroin, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, wearing body armor during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm without an FID card, possession of ammunition without an FID card, and two counts of improper storage of a firearm.

The narcotics charges were subsequently presented to a federal grand jury by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Hampshire. While the case was pending, new information came to light regarding potential inconsistencies in the evidence. As a result, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office decided not to prosecute “in the interest of justice,” the office said in a statement.

That information was referred to the Lowell Police Department, which then formed the Board of Inquiry.

Because the detectives cannot testify during the investigation, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has requested that cases be continued until the review is complete. However, the court has denied those requests for a continuance in some instances, and dismissed cases.

In addition to the Lowell Board of Inquiry, there are reports of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Hampshire investigating the detectives.

Lowell attorney Steven Rappaport represents multiple defendants whose charges have been dismissed in relation to this investigation.

In a November letter to Assistant District Attorney Andrew Ineson, Rappaport wrote: “It has recently come to my attention that members of the Lowell Police Department SIU have been precluded from testifying in court pending an internal Lowell Police Department investigation. There is also some indication that there may be a New Hampshire United States Attorney investigation involving certain members of the SIU.”

He later added: “The defendant hereby requests all information in possession of the Commonwealth or its agents concerning detectives Dokos and Rivera, or any other members of the SIU, currently being investigated for any wrongdoing by the Lowell Police Department Internal Affairs Unit or the New Hampshire United States Attorney’s Office.”

Chelmsford attorney Sharon Sullivan also has several cases that are connected to the detectives under investigation. She earlier this year moved to suppress statements and evidence seized against defendant Hector Gomez, 36, who was facing drug charges.

In the motion, Sullivan argued that the police officers did not have probable cause to arrest Gomez, emphasizing the evidence was obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure.

Gomez in an affidavit stated he was not shown a search warrant, and he did not consent to any search.

“We’ll have to wait and see how the investigation plays out,” Sullivan said Monday.

Lawyer Douglas Louison represents the detectives who are on paid administrative leave. He could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.