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Police waited on highway for alleged heroin dealer to bring product into the city

LACONIA — Both of the men arrested Wednesday for heroin-related crimes in a drug sting are being held on high cash bail while police say nearly 40 grams of heroin were seized during the planned traffic-stop arrest.

Paperwork obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said Jeremiah Proulx, 39, of 740 Union Avenue and David Hobbs, 29, of 742 Union Avenue were allegedly bringing the heroin into the city on Rte. 106 from some place to the south.

Police said they consider this bust one of the more significant heroin arrests the department has engineered this year.

"Police believe he (Proulx) was bringing in excess of 100 grams of heroin a week into Laconia," said Capt. Matthew Canfield. "This is a significant amount of heroin that was being brought into the city on a regular basis."

Police obtained warrants for the arrest and search of each man, each man's apartment and Hobbs's car on April 22.

According to police affidavits, a confidential informant told them that Hobbs and Proulx were "traveling south later in the day to pick up heroin".

A city police detective watched the Lakeport apartment house and saw Hobbs walk toward Proulx's apartment. A few minutes later the two left Lakeport with Proulx as a passenger in Hobbs's car.

The detective followed them south on Union Avenue and on to Province Road and to Circle K in Belmont where Hobbs stopped for gas. Hobbs and Proulx continued south on Rte. 106.

A few hours later, the same detective saw the car returning north on Rte. 106 with Hobbs driving and Proulx in the passenger seat. He notified other police units who stopped Hobbs  just above the Lakes Region Community College.

A second detective noticed Proulx appeared to be reaching down while he was seated in the car. After both men were taken to the Laconia Police Station, detectives found a Wendy's bag under the passenger seat. Hidden in the food were allegedly four "fingers" of heroin.

Police describe a "finger" of heroin as a stick that is about as long and as think as a single finger and estimate it contains about 10 grams of heroin.

Affidavits said the food appeared fresh and a receipt for it was found on Proulx's person that was dated April 22, 2015 and time stamped 2:43 p.m. at a restaurant in Londonderry.

The men were separated and put in different interview rooms at the police station.
After being read his rights, affidavits said Proulx admitted the heroin was his. He said he was unemployed, going through a divorce and was selling heroin to make money. He allegedly told police he had sold cocaine in the past and there was a large amount of marijuana in his apartment.

After Hobbs was read his rights, he allegedly told police that he would drive Proulx to his supplier in exchange for one-half gram of heroin. He told police he had been driving Proulx for a few weeks and making the trip nearly every other day.

Police said Hobbs told them he would occasionally sell heroin but "pinch" or dilute it with sugar before selling it. He also allegedly said would sell his Suboxone — a prescription drug designed to help people quit heroin — and use the money to buy heroin.

Affidavits said a search of Proulx's apartment revealed a safe that contained about $6,000 in cash, several bags of marijuana packaged for individual sale, other larger bags of marijuana, jars with marijuana buds, baggies with several pills for sale, "bindles" — or small packages used for the sale of powdered drugs — a scale and several baggies with powdery residue.

Police said Proulx's apartment was equipped with a working surveillance system with a DVR and several DVDs were found containing old footage.

Police searched Hobbs's apartment and allegedly found some drug-use equipment in the bedroom drawer next to his side of the bed. In a hollow Red Bull can they found three plastic baggies with residue. Police also recovered 25 pills bottles with varying numbers of Suboxine pills in a dresser door.

Proulx is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit heroin sales, one count of possession of narcotic drugs, and one count of possession of controlled drugs with intent to distribute.

After his appearance in court yesterday, Judge Jim Carroll ordered him held on $50,000 cash-only bail. At the request of city Police Det. Peter "Tony" Horan, Carroll also agreed that should Proulx post $50,000 in cash, a hearing would be held to determine the source of the money. As of yesterday, Proulx is represented by the Laconia Public Defenders Office.

Hobbs was ordered held on $20,000 cash only. He was not represented by counsel yesterday but Carroll ordered that as soon as he obtains a lawyer he could request a bail hearing.

Speaking from the video arraignment room in the Belknap County House of Corrections, Hobbs said there was no way he could afford $20,000.

"It's more than I make in a year," he said, as he began crying. "I really don't get into a lot of trouble."

"So I can't go home then, huh?" asked Hobbs.

Carroll shook his head and said "no".

Canfield said police spent about two months investigating the case before making the arrests yesterday.

"We consider this a significant drug bust and will continue to stop others who bring drugs in our city," Canfield said.

 

CUTLINE: The store front on the bottom of this four-apartment building lies vacant. Police disrupted what they said was significant drug operation when they arrested two occupants of the apartment building in a planned traffic stop Wednesday. City assessing records say the building is owned by a couple in Durham. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 12:09

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Local K-9 units to benefit as BOW WOW Fest sets ambitious fundraising goal for May 2 event

LACONIA — The 5th Annual BOW WOW Fest, which will be held rain or shine on Saturday, May 2, has set an ambitious goal of raising $3,000 this year for the support of police K-9 units in Laconia, Gilford and Belmont.
''That's more than double what we raised last year'' says Claire Hebert-Dow, community relations coordinator for Melcher and Prescott Insurance, a long-time supporter of the BOW WOW Fest, who says that last year $1,350 was raised and split between the Laconia and Gilford police departments.
She says that the idea for the BOW WOW Fest started with a front page newspaper photo of a dog named "Boo" and her owner walking along the WOW Trail.
''I thought we have a WOW Ball, why not a BOW WOW event?'' says Hebert-Dow, a member of the board of directors of the WOW Trail, who says the event annually attracts between 100 and 140 dogs and was a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Humane Society in its first year.
''The Humane Society decided they wanted to be vendors and they'll be here again this year in that capacity,'' she says, noting that or the last three years proceeds have gone to police K-9 units.
She is counting on the presence of ''The Hulk'', 173-pound Pit Bull Terrier who has become a national figure since his appearance on ABC's ''Good Morning America'' to help draw a record turnout for the BOW WOW Fest.
''We're very happy to support this even, which is important to both our quality of life and our economy.'' says Chris Volpe, CEO of Melcher and Prescott. ''We're especially happy to participate in an event supporting the Gilford, Laconia and Belmont police departments.''
The festivities begin with registration from 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Elm Street entrance to the trail at Lakeport Square. The registration fee is $10 and another $5 gets you a T-shirt with all monies. dedicated to the K-9 unit of the Laconia Police Department. Additional T-shirts are on sale for $10 with all proceeds to benefit the WOW Trail.
After the dogs are blessed at 10:05 a.m., the parade will begin. Costumes will be judged as the pets and their owners take to the trail, headed for downtown. From 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. there will be talent judging with prizes awarded.
Dog must be leashed with an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Owners should be dressed for inclement weather and prepared to clean up after their dogs.

CAPTION:
Proceeds from the 5th annual BOW WOW Fest which will be held on Saturday, May 2 will be used to provide support for K-9s at local police departments. Gathered at the Lakeport end of the WOW Trail to promote the event are Adam Van Steenburg of the Gilford Police Department, with German Shepherd "Ike"; Ann Saltmarsh of the Laconia Department of Pubic Works; Annie Boissoneau of the Lake Opechee Inn and Conference center with "Keenan", a golden retriever; Chris Volpe, of Melcher and Prescott, a long-time supporter of the BOW WOW Fest and the WOW Trail; Michelle DuPont of the Lakes Opechee Inn and Conference Center with "Diamond", a golden retriever who is "Keenan's" sister; Mike Armstrong of the Laconia Police Department with "Titan", a Czech Shepherd; back row, Claire Hebert-Dow of Melcher and Prescott, a BOW WOW Fest organizer, and Evan Boulanger of the Belmont Police Department with "Vido", a half German shepherd, half Belgian malinois. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 01:24

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Belmont sees progress at LRPA-TV, will pay balance

BELMONT — Selectmen voted unanimously Monday night to pay $7,500 to Lakes Region Public Access television, which represents the balance of the money set aside for the cable programming provider in its 2014 budget. A $15,000 expenditure was approved in November of last year but the town withheld half in anticipation of the station adopting a new business model.

Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the agency is making progress toward executing that new business plan under the guidance of part-time and temporary director Shane Snelling.

She said Meredith, Northwood, Gilford, and now Belmont have all contributed the money they initially agreed to contribute in 2014 and LRPA has come to an agreement with Belknap County for $5,000 annually for recording their meetings. Laconia is also a paying member of the consortium.

Beaudin, who represents Belmont on the LRPA Board of Directors, said Snelling is conducting interviews with potential station managers who have a specialty in marketing. She said there are internship possibilities with Binnie Media and that Snelling is reaching out to the Multi-Media Arts Program at the Huot Technical Center at Laconia High School.

"It's important for us to continue to support them," she said.

She also said Snelling in also talking to some of the communities that used to be members of LRPA like Franklin and has had some decent feedback.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 01:12

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Over Burchell's objection, commission puts Shackett in charge of hiring for county finance department

LACONIA — Belknap County commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday morning to put County Administrator Deborah Shackett in charge of the Finance Department and to give her the authority to hire workers without prior approval of the commissioners.
The actions comes in the wake of two recent resignations from the Finance Department, Director Glen Waring who left in March and assistant finance director Marie Mora who left earlier this month. That left only one person, who is in charge of payroll, in the department.
The county has been advertising to fill the finance director's position by reclassifying it to an account manager position but as yet has not filled it.
Both Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) and Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton) supported the move, which was opposed by Rep. Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton).
Taylor pointed out that Shackett had previous experience at running the Finance Department and would have the same ability to fill positions in the department without commissioner approval as is the current practice for the county Corrections Department and the Nursing Home.
Burchell said that it was ''a gradual retreat'' from positions the commission had previously taken regarding its authority in directing the operations of county government.
He has been at odds with his fellow commissioners ever since late January and was removed from his position as chairman of the commission by them at a stormy meeting on March 2.
When he and DeVoy took office in early January it was announced at the first meeting that commissioners would not be delegating their authority to appointed employees and that all department heads would report directly to them. Burchell said at that time that the Administration Department headed by Shackett would serve in a support role.
Burchell split with his fellow commissioners in February over the proposed county budget. He proposed his own idea for a budget, which among other things would have achieved savings by eliminating the county administrator's position.
He has long been at odds with Shackett and in an e-mail to members of the Belknap County Convention seeking support for his proposed reorganization of county government was critical of both Shackett and Waring.
But his proposal drew no support from his fellow commissioners, who said that he appeared to be pursuing a personal grudge that they wanted no part of.
Commissioners learned yesterday that there will be another employee leaving the county. Angela Bovill, administrative assistant in Shackett's office, who has been hired by the town of Gilford as administrative assistant to Town Administrator Scott Dunn.
DeVoy said that he expects that Shackett will have a list of proposed members of a Criminal Justice Committee ready for the next meeting of the commission on May 6. The committee will review the county criminal justice system in preparation for the anticipated creation of a new community corrections facility.

She is aiding Corrections Department Superintendent Dan Ward and Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin in finding people who will serve on the committee.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 01:10

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