WARE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The community in Ware reacting to the news that a drug distribution ring was busted last night.

Six people are facing charges and now, homeowners are talking to Western Mass News about what they saw in the days and weeks leading up to last night’s SWAT efforts.

Neighbors told us suspected drug activity at 23 Dale was the street’s worst kept secret. Most of the people we spoke with said they witnessed unusual behavior around the home.

"Mostly older teenagers to young adults in and out constantly since we’ve moved into this house," said resident Kevin Disley.

Police disrupted a major drug operation dealing in ecstasy, crack cocaine, the prescription pain killer suboxone, and marijuana.

Disley said he wasn't surprised to see SWAT and police activity around 23 Dale Street on Thursday night.

"We’ve had people pass out on our sidewalks in the past, but it’s just been an ongoing issue," Disley added.

In fact, Disley said he’s one of the people who tried to bring attention to it.

"Me and another neighbor in the building have been consistently speaking to police and other people around about these issues," Disley explained.

Though other neighbors didn't recognize any of the six people arrested, they said the home - which is about a quarter mile from the police station - has been raising concern for awhile.

"It’s a known area for people doing drugs and selling drugs," said Maryann Gunn.

Patrick Cantwell added, "Not really, no. I wasn’t surprised. It seems like it’s an occurrence quite a bit, off and on."

They said this is one situation where the sight of SWAT vehicles is cause for relief, rather than concern.

"It’s such a wonderful thing to see, you know, clean up the area, get them out of here," Gunn said.

Disley added, "It was my kids attention. They were the ones who told me how two people were passed out on the sidewalk. That bothers me, not so much the police doing their job because that’s something we can explain to our children, that yeah there’s some bad people and the cops are here taking care of it."

Arrested during the operation were:

  • Aaron Gasque, 36:
    • Trafficking Class B over 200 grams, subsequent offense (ecstacy) 
    • Trafficking Class B 18-36 grams, subsequent offense (crystal meth)
    • Possession with intent to distribute Class B, subsequent offense (crack cocaine)
    • Possession with intent to distribute Class D, subsequent offense (marijuana)
    • Conspiracy to violate a drug law
  • Jack Coburn, 56
    • Trafficking Class B over 200 grams (ecstacy) 
    • Trafficking Class B 18-36 grams (crystal meth)
    • Possession with intent to distribute Class B, subsequent offense (crack cocaine)
    • Possession of a Class B drug (suboxone)
    • Conspiracy to violate a drug law
  • Melanie Fotiathis, 53
    • Trafficking Class B over 200 grams (ecstacy) 
    • Trafficking Class B 18-36 grams (crystal meth)
    • Possession with intent to distribute Class B, subsequent offense (crack cocaine)
    • Conspiracy to violate a drug law
  • Derek Tweedie, 27
    • Trafficking Class B over 200 grams (ecstacy) 
    • Trafficking Class B 18-36 grams (crystal meth)
    • Possession with intent to distribute Class B, subsequent offense (crack cocaine)
    • Conspiracy to violate a drug law
  • Sarah Herlihy, 28
    • Trafficking Class B over 200 grams (ecstacy) 
    • Trafficking Class B 18-36 grams (crystal meth)
    • Possession with intent to distribute Class B, subsequent offense (crack cocaine)
    • Conspiracy to violate a drug law
  • Tina Bellis, 46
    • Trafficking Class B over 200 grams (ecstacy) 
    • Trafficking Class B 18-36 grams (crystal meth)
    • Possession with intent to distribute Class B, subsequent offense (crack cocaine)
    • Conspiracy to violate a drug law

Police also confirmed that the six suspects have faced similar drug charges in the past.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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