Concord police, SWAT team raid West Street home, arrest two in drug bust
Randy Santos is arraigned at the New Hampshire Circuit Court in Concord after being arrested along with Leslee Drew-Kennett during a drug bust in South End early Friday morning, October 25, 2013.
(Will PARSON / Monitor staff)
Early yesterday morning, near a playground on a tree-lined street in Concord’s South End, a team of local and state law enforcement agents busted through the front door of a white clapboard boarding house, seizing drugs and arresting two individuals who they suspect are players in a larger, active narcotics ring.
The raid, which took place about 5 a.m. at 33 West St., was the culmination of a monthlong investigation that had been prompted by “numerous complaints” from neighbors about illegal drug activity at the residence, Concord police officials said.
According to a police affidavit, one of the two suspects, 43-year-old Leslee Drew-Kennett, had sold illegal drugs to an undercover officer outside the house on three occasions in the past two weeks. She has been charged with five felony counts of sale of controlled drugs, including heroin, crack cocaine and Adderall, and is being held on $100,000 cash bail.
Under a mattress in the bedroom of the other suspect, Randy Santos, 39, agents located several plastic straws, one of which contained cocaine residue, they said. During a subsequent pat-down, officers discovered 23 bags of heroin in Santos’s pants, all of which he told them he planned to sell, according to the affidavit.
Santos has been charged with two counts of possession of a controlled drug and one count of possession with intent to distribute – all felonies. He has been held on $90,000 cash bail and is scheduled for a probable cause hearing, in which a judge determines whether there is enough evidence for a suspect to stand trial, Nov. 7.
Though Drew-Kennett’s bail is higher, Assistant City Prosecutor Steven Endres indicated yesterday during a video arraignment at Concord’s district court that Santos presents the greater public threat. He has an extensive criminal history spanning more than two decades and multiple states, Endres said, including assault of an officer, reckless endangerment, possession of narcotics, violation of a protective order and a fugitive charge. Santos is also believed to be a member of a Hispanic street gang called the Latin Kings.
Endres said there was no evidence that Santos had any special ties to New Hampshire, and that he appeared to be here “for the sole purpose of distributing drugs.”
Drew-Kennett, on the other hand, has three children in the area and has spent much of her life in this state, Endres said. He added that she doesn’t have previous drug charges but has served time in recent years on multiple driving offenses out of Sullivan County.
One of Drew-Kennett’s children, Kyle Willett, attended her arraignment and said afterward that he also lived at the house on West Street, and that he had been there, sleeping, at the start of the raid.
Asked what he knew of his mother’s conduct, Willett said: “Obviously I’m going to deny it; she’s my mother.”
A female acquaintance who sat with Willett through the arraignment and who declined to identify herself said she thought Drew-Kennett had been “told what to do and she just did what she was told.”
“I think people talk, and this is how rumors start,” Willett added.
Concord police Chief John Duval declined to discuss his department’s suspicions about a more widespread drug operation, but said those are “still very much under investigation.”
“This is a significant case, especially for the South End,” Duval noted earlier yesterday, citing neighbors’ recent concerns about drug activity in the area.
He said the predawn raid, which was a joint effort of the Concord police, Central New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Department and members of the Attorney General’s Drug Task Force, had been executed without error or injuries.
(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, email@example.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)