North Adams pair face multiple drug, weapons charges

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NORTH ADAMS — Two city residents are facing charges after police allegedly found heroin and illegal firearms in their Pebble Street apartment.

Noel Torres, 29, and Lindsay Lancto, 28, were the targets of two-month investigation by the Berkshire County Drug Task Force, built on reports from a confidential informant.

Officers followed Torres on Thursday and stopped his car on Route 8, where they arrested him for driving without a license, according to the probable cause report filed by North Adams Police Officer Joshua Zustra.

Armed with a warrant, police then searched the Pebble Street home and secured three dogs inside the residence and ensured there were no children present. Lancto was not present at the time of the search, according to police.

Inside what they believed to be the couple's bedroom, officers found 510 bags of heroin, $4,316.50 in cash, a loaded semiautomatic handgun, a rifle with ammunition in the grip, a 20 gauge shotgun, several boxes of ammunition, five unidentified pills and three grams of cocaine. Investigators believe the weapons were for use as protection.

Police arrested Lancto later that day when she entered the police station to inquire how she could post bail for Torres.

In an interview with police, Lancto allegedly claimed that she did not live with Torres and had only been staying there the previous two days.

Torres pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Friday to Class A drug possession to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, two counts of improper storage of a firearm, improper storage of a large capacity firearm, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, two counts of unlicensed possession of a firearm, unlicensed possession of a large capacity firearm, unlicensed possession of ammunition, two counts of unlicensed possession of a large capacity feeding device, and a firearm violation with three prior drug or violent crime convictions.

In a separate case stemming from the initial motor vehicle stop, Torres is charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Lancto pleaded not guilty to single counts of Class A drug possession to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, two counts of improper storage of a firearm, improper storage of a large capacity firearm, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, two counts of unlicensed possession of a firearm, unlicensed possession of a large capacity firearm, unlicensed possession of ammunition, and two counts of unlicensed possession of a large capacity feeding device.

In a separate case, she was charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Torres was held on $2,500 cash bail; Lancto was released after posting $1,000 bail.

They are scheduled to appear in court on March 5 for pretrial hearings.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-496-6376.


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