In two raids in Harwich and Yarmouth, police seized illegal drugs and firearms upon uncovering what authorities say is a drug trafficking organization in Cape Town.
On May 19, federal search warrants were executed on Azalea Drive in Harwich and Autumn Drive in Yarmouth, where police seized two high capacity weapons and ammunition, a body armor and 679 grams of cocaine, according to a Barnstable Police Department press release.
The warrants are the result of a months-long investigation by the Barnstable Police Department’s Narcotics Unit and the Cape Cod federal office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Barnstable Police Department Lt. Mark Mellyn said in an email.
Five arrests were made in the Harwich raid, while no arrests were made in Yarmouth, according to Mellyn.
“This investigation was a collaborative effort between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies focused on drug distribution in Barnstable County communities,” David DiTulli, resident officer in charge of the office of the County, told The Times. DEA in Cape Cod. “The DEA Cape Cod office is committed to ensuring the safety and health of the communities it serves and remains focused on reducing violence and the flow of drugs.”
The five arrested were charged on May 20 with possession of a large capacity firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, possession of a large capacity feeder and trafficking in a Class B substance, according to the release.
Daniel Rodrigues, director of substance use disorder treatment services at Duffy Health Center, said news of raids like this had two sides for people treated by the center.
“As a human, my first thought is that it’s good to have less of these substances in the community,” he said. “But then reality kicks in with the work my team and I do, and what comes to mind is what? For community members who use, who will they turn to next? »
For many people with drug addiction in Cape Town, a break in the supply chain often leads them to engage in higher-risk behaviors, such as traveling to Boston or Providence to get high, Rodrigues said.
COVID is a clear example of this, he said.
“When everything stops, it means everything stops, even for the user community,” Rodrigues said.
On the other hand, drug raids disrupt the supply, so many people with substance use disorders see this as a critical time to seek help.
“We have seen that with COVID; there has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking services,” Rodrigues said.
One of Cape Town’s biggest problems in treating drug addicts is the lack of treatment options, he said.
“There just aren’t enough acute care beds, detox beds or long-term residential programs,” he said. “When there is a situation with a major bust, where do we send people for support?”
People with addictions who need acute care have to leave Cape Town to receive it, potentially separating them from their support systems, which can be a significant barrier to recovery, Rodrigues said.
“Cape Town is a small community that is really its own network,” he said. “When there are busts, you know, people know people who know people who know people. We have to remember that it’s not just about substances in these raids, but also people attached.