drugs

Approximately 1,752 grams of cocaine, 80 grams of heroin and 26 grams of assorted pills were recovered after an "extensive" six-month drug-trafficking investigation, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. Officers also seized 12 illegal firearms and $23,591 in cash.

PITTSFIELD — Authorities have arrested nine people, seized a dozen illegal firearms and made the largest local narcotics seizure since 2013, the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

After an “extensive” six-month investigation into a drug-trafficking operation, the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force executed search warrants at six residences — five were in Pittsfield and one was in Clarksburg — as well as at an unidentified commercial property in North Adams. Two vehicles were searched.

Approximately 1,752 grams of cocaine, 80 grams of heroin and 26 grams of assorted pills were recovered in the operation, according to Andrew McKeever, a spokesman for Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington. Officers also seized 12 illegal firearms and $23,591 in cash.

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Authorities arrested nine, seized a dozen illegal firearms and made the largest local narcotics seizure in about eight years after a six-month investigation into a Berkshire drug-trafficking operation.

Eight people were arrested on charges of trafficking over 200 grams of cocaine: Reginald Ellerbee, 40, Alexius Vaughan, 28, and Valente Ellerbee, 36, all of Pittsfield; Tonia Maxwell, 42, and Wisdom Ellerbee, 39, of North Adams; Joseph Rock, 63, of Clarksburg; Domonique Gary, 35, of Northampton; and Zahir Allah, 40, of Springfield.

Reginald Ellerbee and Maxwell also were charged with trafficking between 36 and 100 grams of heroin, the DA’s office said. Gary and Allah each faces an additional charge of trafficking between 18 and 36 grams of heroin. Rock also was charged with multiple firearms offenses.

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A final defendant, Robert Williams, 36, of Pittsfield, is accused of manufacturing a Class B substance and possessing a Class A substance with intent to distribute.

“These arrests are a result of strong collaboration between state and local law enforcement and the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office to remove these drugs and guns from our community,” Harrington said in a statement. “I thank the investigators for their excellent and important work in disrupting the flow of harmful drugs in Berkshire County.”

Harrington pledged to hold accountable those arrested during the course of the investigation but said that providing treatment to those struggling with substance abuse is the solution to the drug epidemic.

“The long-term solution to the drug epidemic lies in eliminating the demand for illegal drugs by providing treatment and opportunities for those struggling with substance use and addressing the underlying conditions that lead to individuals choosing to engage in dangerous and illegal drug dealing,” she said.

Harrington’s office, the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force, the Berkshire State Police Detective Unit assigned to the DA’s office, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, and the police departments of Pittsfield, North Adams, Adams and Lee investigated.

The Massachusetts State Police Division of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team, the FBI Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force, the Hampshire/Franklin Narcotics Task Force, the Hampden County Narcotics Task Force and the Massachusetts State Police Troop B Community Action Team assisted with the investigation.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com, on Twitter @amandaburkec and 413-496-6296.

Amanda Burke covers Pittsfield City Hall for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.