The Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force arrested two Island men Wednesday, Feb. 24, as they allegedly tried to transport a large amount of uncut heroin onto the Vineyard.
Andrew Morris, 24, of Oak Bluffs, and John C. Andriotis, 28, of Edgartown, were both arrested at the ferry terminal in Vineyard Haven, and charged with trafficking heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Mr. Andriotis was also charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and possession of a class B substance (cocaine).
State police Sgt. Neil Maciel said police received information the two men had taken a car off-Island to buy drugs and were returning on the 7:30 p.m. boat. Police knew that Mr. Andriotis was driving with a suspended license and was wanted on an outstanding warrant from Rhode Island.
Members of the drug task force stopped the two men as they drove a red 1995 Nissan Maxima off the boat. Police found a large amount of heroin concealed in Mr. Morris’s crotch. A plastic packet containing brown rocks and powder was later identified as heroin. In total police seized 54 grams of heroin with an estimated street value of about $7,000.
Both men were arraigned on Fe. 25 in Edgartown district court before Judge Gregory Williams. Mr. Andriotis has an extensive criminal record across the state for an assortment of charges involving drugs, weapons, larceny and assault.
At the request of district attorney Laura Marshard, Judge Williams set bail for Mr. Andriotis at $25,000.
Mr. Morris was arraigned in Edgartown district court two months ago on unrelated charges of driving with a suspended license and failure to stop for police. He was also arrested last year for possession of marijuana after state police conducted an aerial search of the Island using a helicopter.
In January he was released on $7,500 bail, but the judge at the time issued a bail warning stating he would be held in jail for 60 days if he was arrested again. Noting this, Judge Williams revoked Mr. Morris’s bail and ordered him returned to jail.
Sergeant Maciel said the arrests followed a lengthy investigation.
The police report indicates the two men drove to a location in southeastern Massachusetts to buy the drugs; Sergeant Maciel could not comment further because he said the investigation is ongoing.
The arrests are the latest in a series of drug busts over the last 18 months; Sergeant Maciel said the drug trade continues on the Vineyard.
“I can’t say we have stopped it. I think we have made a dent in it . . . but I don’t think we’ve come close to stopping it,” he said.
West Tisbury police chief Beth Toomey, who is also a member of the drug task force but was not involved in last week’s arrests, said heroin use is prevalent on the Island.
“I know people look at all these arrests and think the heroin problem might be coming to an end. Unfortunately it’s not. There are people who still want [heroin], and there are people who are still willing to get it and bring it back,” she said, adding:
“Heroin use in general across the state has increased, largely because it’s cheaper and more accessible . . . right now [dealers] are selling and marketing heroin, because that’s what people want right now.”