Alleged leader of Northern Berkshire heroin ring held on $300,000 bail
PITTSFIELD -- The Williamstown man police say headed up a heroin ring in Northern Berkshire County is being held on $300,000 cash bail on a drug charge.
Police say 38-year-old Ernest A. Harvin had been out on bail for drug charges when he was again arrested in May following a Berkshire County Drug Task Force raid of the Henderson Road residence where he and his girlfriend were living. On Tuesday in Berkshire Superior Court, Harvin appeared with attorney Thomas C. Doyle, and denied a single count of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute.
According to police, they found 300 bags of heroin packaged for sale as well as loose heroin and paraphernalia used in the distribution of the drug.
His girlfriend, Sarah Turgeon, 28, is also facing a drug charge related to the newest case. She has denied a single count of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. She is scheduled to be arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court on July 1.
Harvin is also facing kidnapping and firearms charges for allegedly cornering and threatening to kill two people who owed him money for drugs. He would front them as much as 500 bags at a time, but when they amassed a debt he assaulted them with a handgun, according to police report.
Those charges, also brought in May, remain in Northern Berkshire District Court. No decision has been made whether that case will go to the grand jury, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. Harvin is held on $500,000 cash bail in connection with that case. Harvin denied those charges.
At the time of his arraignment in district court on those charges, he had his bail revoked on an earlier case in Berkshire Superior Court on 14 drug, weapons and traffic charges.
Harvin allegedly fled police Sept. 5 during a Drug Task Force sting operation, crashed the Mercedes he was driving into a tree on Oblong Road in Williamstown, and then continued running on foot. He was later arrested after a K9 unit located him about a mile from the crash site, police said.
Police allegedly recovered 280 bags of heroin, close to $1,500 in cash and a loaded 9 mm handgun that had been stolen in 2010, among other items.
He was later indicted on the charges to which he has pleaded not guilty. In February, Harvin's bail was reduced from $500,000 cash or $5,000,000 surety bail to $50,000. The next month, he made bail.
Harvin, who goes by the street name "Ezus," has ties to "violent street gangs," said police.
"[Harvin] has known associates who would be willing to assist in hiding, concealing, or transporting evidence or other witnesses in an effort to foil investigators," according to the report.
Harvin has a criminal record that includes a 1994 attempted murder conviction out of New York State as well as assault, firearms and drug distribution offenses.
Tuesday, Judge John A. Agostini ordered Harvin held on $300,000 cash or $3,000,000 surety bail at the request of Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Richard M. Locke.
Harvin is due back in court in July for a further bail hearing in the 2013 case and on Sept. 10 for a pretrial hearing on his newest charge.
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