New England Teamsters Sue Waste Management

Author’s Note: The following report is based on a complaint filed by the New England Teamsters, not any branch of law enforcement or state prosecution. The case is civil, not criminal.

A truckers union is suing Waste Management, alleging the waste hauling giant has failed to make pension payments for some employees.

The New England Teamsters Local 379 is demanding Waste Management pay what they owe, plus interest and legal expenses, according to a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston.

A collective bargaining agreement between Waste Management and the Teamsters called for the waste company to make contributions on behalf of certain employees to  its pension fund and to pay late charges for contributions not timely paid, the complaint, said the complaint, submitted by attorney Catherine Campbell.

The failure of payments came to light as result of a payroll audit, the complaint said. It does not specify how much money the Teamsters allege Waste Management owes.

The complaint calls for Waste Management to pay the unpaid contributions with interest, liquidated damages in an amount equal to the greater of interest on the unpaid contributions or 20% of the unpaid contributions, and to cover legal fees.

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The Over-the-Top Coverage of Whitey Bulger

The excessive coverage of the case of James “Whitey” Bulger became apparent Friday afternoon, when news outlets around Boston began to blow up with coverage of Whitey’s girlfriend, Catherine Greig, for no apparent reason.

On Wednesday, Greig  – who is charged with harboring a fugitive – agreed to remain jailed while her attorney prepares further evidence to support a motion for her release (she wants to be held to the confinement of her sister’s Squantum home and wear a GPS bracelet).

On Friday, things were EXACTLY the same. But the world of Boston media didn’t see it that way.

At the conclusion of a detention hearing Wednesday, Greig’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, said his client would agree to voluntary detention, but that a motion for her release remain in consideration until he submits more evidence to support it. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal granted the request. And it was reported by pretty much every media outlet in Boston.

That agreement was filed in writing Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Boston, as an order of voluntary detention entered by Boal. It provided nearly nothing new – only that when the defense does submit new evidence, prosecutors will have three days to file a response (who cares?).

At least a dozen reporters witnessed the events in the courtroom Wednesday morning. When they read the filing Friday, you’d think they would have recognized it as a written version of what they already saw.

Yet, here’s some of the headlines from Twitter/Webpages Friday afternoon:

If this is the way they plan to do things for the coming years as Whitey and Cathy become regulars at the federal courthouse, it’s going to get awfully redundant – and confusing.


Four Indicted in Lawrence to New Bedford Heroin Ring

Four men have been indicted in connection to a cross-state heroin ring that connected two of the Commonwealth’s most depressed cities.

Luis Alberto Gonzalez, Victor Santan-Guerrero, Angel Concepcion and Oveido Lopez were each indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute.

The four men ran a ring where large quantities of heroin were shipped from Lawrence to New Bedford on a nearly daily basis, according to a DEA investigator. They were among six arrested in a bust in Lawrence in February where agents seized nine pounds of heroin worth about $3 million.

The New Bedford DEA office began watching the ring by physical surveillance in November 2010 in New Bedford, and were able to track it back to Lawrence by planting GPS devices on drug runners’ cars. The GPS showed one runner made the 180-mile round trip between the cities on a daily basis.

The source of the heroin was a stash house, 570 South Union Street Apartment 8, in Lawrence. A runner would pick up the drugs and several members of the conspiracy in Lawrence, drive to New Bedford and pick up a few more, then they would fan out across New Bedford, selling heroin until the runner picked them up at the end of the day, according to DEA affidavit.

After receiving a search warrant in Lawrence District Court, agents raided the stash house Feb. 2, arresting the four men and seizing the drugs.

Agents had difficulty identifying one of the men Alberto Gonzalez, because he had mutilated his fingerprints, an affidavit said.

Federal charges were brought in April and the indictments were handed down Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston. All four remain imprisoned pending trial.


Friday Rundown: Man Faces 8th DUI Charge, Dorchester Murder Suspect Arrested

This week’s rundown includes the arrest of a murder suspect, an alleged burglar caught in the act and a drunk who can’t seem to stay out of the driver’s seat.

Let’s get down to business:

  • Murder Suspect Arrested: Anthony Robertson, 20, of Dorchester is being held without bail facing a charge of murder in the death Aaron Wornum, who was killed June 26 on Sumner Street.  Boston Police found Wornum, 25, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Boston Medical Center where he was later pronounced deceased, according to the Boston Police blog. Robertson also faces a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was arrested Wednesday in Dorchester.
  • Alleged Burglar Caught in Act: Boston Police were patrolling a Newbury Street alleyway early Thursday morning when they allegedly spotted 42-year-old Antonio Roman jump from an air conditioning belonging to BLVD Boston. Officers, aware of recent breaks, stopped the suspect to further investigate. Roman’s excuse? He said he was simply going to the bathroom, according to the BPD blog. But police found a bag with him carrying common burglary tools and Roman eventually admitted to the deed. Roman was charged with attempted breaking and entering and possession of burglarious tools.
  • Drunk Driving at Revere Beach: A Winthrop man already convicted on seven previous occasions was allegedly caught drunk driving again on Tuesday. Joseph Limone, 60, He was driving all over Beach Street in Revere, sounding the horn of his 1988 Lincoln Town Car repeatedly, and tailgating and yelling at another vehicle, according to a Suffolk County District Attorney news release. He failed to properly recite the alphabet in a sobriety test and couldn’t walk a straight line, prosecutors said. Once arrested he told a state trooper, “Get the cuffs off me and I will [expletive] you up. Just you and me,” the D.A.’s office said.  His previous seven OUI convictions date back as far as 1983, all in the greater Boston area. He is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing next week.
  • Victims’ Kin Say Keep Greig Behind Bars: Four family members of alleged victims of James “Whitey” Bulger spoke out against the release of Catherine Greig while her charges pend. Greig, the long-time girlfriend of Bulger and his partner on the run, wants to be released to the confinement of her sisters home pending trial, the Boston Globe reports. “She does not deserve that freedom,’’ Steven Davis, brother of alleged victim Debra Davis, said during a detention hearing Wednesday. “In my eyes, she’s an evil woman.’’ Greig remains jailed while a judge mulls the request.
  • Northeastern Chemistry Ph. D Student Charged with Dealing Drugs: Dennis Szymanski, a Ph. D student at the Barnett Institute, allegedly drove from Boston to Philadelphia on April 20 with two kilograms of MDA he planned to sell for $36,000. But he had set up the deal with a source cooperating with federal investigators, and when he arrived at a South Philadelphia Best Buy parking lot to make the trade was arrested by Immigrations and Customs Exchange agents, according to an ICE affidavit. He was charged with distributing a controlled substance.Szymanski was released on bail as the case awaited review by a grand jury. But he got back into trouble when the man who set up his arrest received a threatening email from “ratexterminator105@yahoo.com” on June 30, that Szymanski allegedly sent from a library computer in Worcester.

Illegal Immigrants Say They Were Just Heading to Michigan to Pick Blueberries

When police in rural Wolfboro, N.H. asked a parked van full of Mexican men what they were doing there, the driver replied they were on their way to Michigan to pick some blueberries, according to a border patrol affidavit.

Behind the wheel was Oliverio Martinez-Ventura, a Mexican man who had previously been deported on four occasions and was once charged with trafficking cocaine, according to border patrol officials. Martinez-Ventura is charged with illegal re-entry having been previously deported.

About 12:20 a.m. on Sunday, June 10, Wolfboro police officer James O’Brien spotted the van parked in the lot of Three Sisters Corner Store, which closes at 10 p.m. and has recently been hit with a rash of burglaries, according to a report by Border Patrol agent Lott Connell.

When asked what they were doing there, Martinez-Ventura replied they were “looking to go to Michigan to pick blueberries,” the report said.

O’Brien questioned them in Spanish and they told him they were in the country illegally, the report said.

The men were then hauled to Beecher Falls Border Station in Vermont where border patrol officers ran a fingerprint check. The prints of the driver matched Oliver Martinez-Ventura, who was convicted in 1993 of trafficking in cocaine and previously deported four times between 1996 and 2006 from California, Texas and Arizona, Connell’s report said.

Martinez-Ventura allegedly told investigators he was from Tlaxico, Oaxaca, Mexico, and most recently entered the U.S. by walking across the border near Nogales, Ariz. The report doesn’t reference any of the other men in the van, or explain how they ended up in New England.

Martinez-Ventura was charged Thursday and has a hearing scheduled Friday in Concord, N.H.


Alleged Psychedelic Dealer Wants Release to Finish Ph. D in Chemistry

Previous Report: Northeastern Student Charged with Bulk Sales of MDA, Threatening Informant

A man who faces state and federal charges for allegedly distributing psychedelic drugs wants to be released from prison so he can finish his Ph. D in chemistry at Northeastern University.

Dennis Szymanski, who was arrested last week after allegedly threatening an informant who set him up, wants to be released to the custody of his parents in Boylston, according to a filing by defense attorney Charles Rankin.

Szymanski will only leave his home for medical care, visiting his attorney and to complete his degree, Rankin wrote. He is a Ph. D student in chemistry at Northeastern’s Barnett Institute.

He was arrested on April 20 in Philadelphia, where federal investigators – with the help of a confidential informant – set up a purchase of $36,000 for two kilograms psychedelic MDA (further lab testing has shown the drug was actually MDMA, commonly called ecstasy, according to a court filing).

Szymanski was released on $50,000 bail shortly after his arrest, but got back into trouble when he allegedly sent threatening emails and Facebook messages to the informant who set up the Philadelphia drug exchange and his family. He faces a charge of threatening a government witness stemming from the threats.

It isn’t the first time Szymanski has been charged with distributing a drug, according prosecutors. He was arrested in Boston on November 10 last year and charged with distributing liquid LSD, U.S. Attorney Christopher Bator wrote in a motion calling for Szymanski to be held until trial.

Szymanski allegedly previously admitted to investigators he uses illegal drugs, Bator wrote. He also lied when asked if he had any drug cases pending against him when he was interviewed after his arrest in Philadelphia in April, Bator wrote.

No decision has been handed down on either request, according to the court docket. The case is assigned to Magistrate Judge Timothy Hillman.


Northeastern Student Charged with Bulk Sales of MDA, Threatening Informant

A Northeastern University student faces charges for allegedly selling a large batch of psychedelic drug MDA and threatening a government informant, according to court records.

Dennis Szymanski drove from Boston to Philadelphia on April 20 with two kilograms of MDA he planned to sell for $36,000, authorities said. But he had set up the deal with a source cooperating with federal investigators, and when he arrived at a South Philadelphia Best Buy parking lot to make the trade Szymanski was arrested by Immigrations and Customs Exchange agents, according to an ICE affidavit.

Szymanski is listed on the website for Northeastern’s Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis as a Ph. D student. A Homeland Security affidavit confirmed Szymanski as a student at Northeastern, but did not specify what field.

Using $10,000 in government funds, the informant made the swap with federal agents listening in. Szymanski was arrested, waived his miranda rights and admitted to making the drug deal, according to an affidavit written by ICE agent Jeffery Kuc. He was charged with distributing a controlled substance.

Szymanski was released on bail as the case awaited review by a grand jury. But he got back into trouble when the man who set up his arrest received a threatening email from “ratexterminator105@yahoo.com” on June 30, according to a federal court filing.

Written in all caps, part of the email said, “You think you got away with something? You did not. Capital punishment is the biggest deterrent. Good thing we have plenty of rat poison. You have (effed) up big time now your family will be involved.”

The informant’s girlfriend also received a threatening message on Facebook, part of which said: “This will last for 20 years until both of you pay, you will both pay dearly for this. REMEMBER THIS YOU WILL BOTH PAY DEARLY.”

Both messages and another sent to a family member of the informant were traced to a library computer at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Video surveillance captured Szymanski using the computer at the time the message was sent, Homeland Security Special Agent Mark Duffy wrote in a report.

Szymanski admitted to agents he sent the messages when they paid a visit to his Boston area home on July 7, Duffy wrote. Szymanski was arrested the following day, and on a charge of threatening a government witness. He is scheduled for a detention hearing July 12 in U.S. District Court in Boston.