2 arrested on heroin trafficking charges
PITTSFIELD — A Lanesborough man remains held without bail on multiple charges including trafficking over 100 grams of heroin and illegal weapons possession.
Tanner Murray, 20, is allegedly connected to a Williamstown Road apartment where police found 5,500 bags of heroin, as well as a loaded, unsecured handgun.
Murray's attorney said his client denies the accusations, and noted he was in custody at the time of the search that turned up the drugs and the weapon. Police believe Murray had been supplying heroin to Robert Scutt, 28, of North Adams, who allegedly was selling heroin and crack cocaine in the North Adams area.
Investigators kept Scutt under surveillance and arranged controlled purchases of drugs from him.
On Feb. 15, investigators were granted a search warrant for Scutt and his home. They received information that Scutt would be heading to the Berkshire Mall to meet Murray.
Both men were arrested after police saw Scutt enter Murray's vehicle, and exit shortly after while both were parked at the mall.
Scutt had about 200 bags of heroin when he was arrested; he told police he had purchased the drugs from Murray for about $700.
Murray was found with $3,107 cash; $689 of which was in a separate stack. He told police he met with his friend "Rob" in the parking lot, but didn't know his last name and they had met just to catch up and say "Hi."
He denied accepting any cash from Scutt or handing anything to him.
Murray told police he had come straight to the mall from Ensign Avenue in Pittsfield, despite having been seen by investigators coming from a Lanesborough address.
Police said they had probable cause to believe Murray was using the Lanesborough apartment to store heroin and cash. They did not know who else might be in the apartment, but were aware Murray knew police saw him coming from there, and that he would be able to make a phone call within an hour of being brought to jail.
"Investigators feared that if the apartment was not immediately seized, any evidence within the apartment would likely be destroyed prior to a search warrant application being drafted and reviewed by the Honorable Court," the police report reads. "Therefore, the decision was made to secure the apartment pending the search warrant application process."
State troopers announced their presence before entering the apartment.
There were two people inside the apartment, according to police, who found a loaded 9mm handgun on a living room coffee table in plain view, according to court files.
Both people denied ownership of the gun. One told police it was their apartment, but Murray had some of his belongings there and stayed there occasionally.
Police said they found paperwork, photos and clothing belonging to Murray.
The two people were allowed to leave.
By about 8:15 a.m. the next day, the warrant had been authorized, and police searched the apartment and found about 5,500 bags of heroin.
Including the 200 bags seized during the arrests of Murray and Scutt, police seized between 114 and 142.5 grams of heroin with an estimated value of up to $45,000, depending on how much each bag was to be sold for.
The heroin was allegedly packed in the same blue paper packaging inside which the heroin seized at Scutt and Murray's arrests was packed.
"Obviously, my client disclaims any possession of any gun or any drugs and furthermore he wasn't found in the vicinity of any gun or any drugs, and no gun and no drugs were found on his person or in the car," said Joseph Zlatnik, Murray's attorney.
Murray was arraigned Feb. 16 in Central Berkshire District Court, and during a Feb. 20 dangerousness hearing, he was ordered held without bail until June 19. He has since been indicted by a Berkshire grand jury.
He pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Berkshire Superior Court on charges trafficking in heroin, distribution of heroin, conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, illegal ownership of a firearm, improper storage of a firearm and possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card.
Scutt pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Feb. 16 to possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Judge Daniel Ford set his bail at $1,000 and ordered him to return to court April 24 for a pretrial hearing.
Bob Dunn can be reached at email@example.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
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