Six arrested in Franklin drug bust

  • Bennett

  • Benoit

  • Moses

  • Atwood

  • McDonald

  • Balch

Monitor staff
Thursday, June 02, 2016

City police and a New Hampshire State Police SWAT team – complete with a BearCat – arrested six people in Franklin on Tuesday suspected of drug activity.

Franklin police Chief David Goldstein said the arrests were a result of a monthslong “lengthy” investigation conducted in conjunction with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Drug Task Force.

“These are folks who have been known to us,” he said Wednesday. “It was an undercover narcotics investigation.”

The joint operation began at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, he said, and lasted several hours. The BearCat and SWAT team, Goldstein added, were a precaution.

“We got information that these individuals may have had weapons in their possession or on them,” he said.

Ultimately, Goldstein said all the arrests were peaceful. Three people were arrested in a Franklin Woods apartment on Plains Court. Laura Atwood, 25, of Franklin was charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute and William Moses, 36, of Rumney and Eric Benoit, 36, of Plymouth were both charged with possession of a controlled drug.

Two more people were arrested during a vehicle stop on Central Street in front of Franklin High School. Ashley McDonald, 23, of Franklin was charged with sales of a controlled drug, and Shawn Balch, 36, also of Franklin, was charged with attempted robbery of another alleged drug dealer,

The last person, 22-year-old Courtney Bennett of Franklin, was arrested during a vehicle stop on River Street and charged with sales of a controlled drug.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, Goldstein said all of the suspects except one made bail or were released with a scheduled bail hearing. Balch’s arraignment at Franklin’s district court was re-scheduled because he wanted an attorney present.

Goldstein said drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine were found during the arrests, though no meth labs were discovered.

“We are being told that right now there appears to be a resurgence of methamphetamine in the area,” he said. Due to intense attention on the opioid crisis in New Hampshire and nationwide, Goldstein said that heroin use is waning in the area, but “we’re seeing the meth coming back.”

In this case, Goldstein added, meth is being imported into Franklin.

“It’s an enterprise,” he said. Now, Franklin police plan to investigate the source of incoming drugs.

Goldstein said police are working closely with partners in the community and state to try to get individuals into drug addiction treatment.

That’s not necessarily what’s happening for the six people arrested this week, Goldstein said, because the state is struggling with treatment center capacity. But he hopes it will be an option more and more in the future.

In the meantime, “getting these people off the street is very important,” Goldstein said. “We keep doing what we do.”

(Elodie Reed can be reached at 369-3306, ereed@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @elodie_reed.)