Man charged with dealing heroin

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NORTH ADAMS — A city man with a past drug conviction was held on $25,000 bail after a raid on his Liberty Street home this week.

Police raided Joseph Pini's home at 7:20 a.m. Wednesday and found 85 bags of heroin packaged for sale and $915 in cash in his pocket.

When members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force arrived, Pini, 40, was standing outside of his home. When he saw police approaching him, Pini allegedly ran back into the kitchen door of his house, where police chased him.

Pini quickly surrendered inside.

Shortly after he was secured in handcuffs, Pini allegedly admitted to having about five bundles of heroin in the house and said "it's all on me."

When asked how many people he sells to, Pini allegedly replied "only, like, three." He also allegedly admitted that he sometimes used heroin, but that his wife was unaware of his use.

Later on in the questioning, police said, Pini changed his story and allegedly claimed that the heroin was all for personal use and stated he had stopped selling heroin months ago. He stated that the three customers were no longer buying from him.

Police said they came to suspect Pini's drug activity when a city man reported to them that two people at his house were using his tablet computer to communicate with Pini via Facebook in order to purchase drugs. The thread of conversations shows the users setting up meeting places and times to purchase heroin.

In the exchanges, Pini said he does not use drugs or drink, indicating to police that he likely intended to distribute heroin and was not personally using it.

North Adams Det. Mark Bailey had warned Pini to stop distributing heroin in the city multiple times in the past several months, according to the police report written by North Adams Police Officer Joshua Zustra.

In an interview conducted at the police station, Pini allegedly told police he could not stop selling heroin because his wife is on disability and he does not earn enough money to support his family.

Pini was arrested in 2015 while in possession of 50 bags of heroin and was later convicted of class A drug possession with intent to distribute.

He pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court Friday to a single count of class A drug possession with intent to distribute, subsequent offense. Judge William Rota ordered him held on $25,000 cash bail.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter


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