Police recover $30,000 of heroin in bust


LOWELL, MA -- A high-level city heroin dealer believed to have been operating for several years now is facing at least 10 years in prison after police say they found about $30,000 of pure heroin in his apartment.

Santiago Figueroa, 49, of 86 Baldwin St., unit 6, was sleeping when city police and federal agents served a search warrant at his apartment on Thursday about 1:30 p.m., Detective Sgt. James Trudel said.

Police had identified Figueroa as a large-scale heroin dealer about six months ago, and called in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to help bust him due to the size of his operation, Trudel said.

"It was a little larger than we could handle so we took it to them and we worked it together," Trudel said, noting that one of Lowell's Vice Unit detectives has been working with the DEA anyway.

Trudel said police found about 140 grams of pure heroin in the apartment Santiago shared with his wife, Grisel Alicea, 42, who will be summonsed to court.

Alicea was not immediately taken into custody because the two have a 17-year-old daughter who is severely handicapped, Trudel said.

Figueroa and Alicea will both be charged with trafficking heroin [100 to 200 grams], and distribution of heroin in a school zone, police said.

The heroin was stored in 14 "fingers," long, narrow bags that hold about 10 grams each, Trudel said.

He said Figueroa was probably selling several hundred thousand dollars worth of cocaine each year.

He said police have been watching Figueroa for several months now, and finally got enough evidence to obtain a search warrant for his apartment.

Figueroa was arraigned Friday in Lowell District Court, but the results of that appearance were not immediately available.

March 26, 2006
Copyright 2006 MediaNews Group, Inc.
Lowell Sun (Massachusetts)

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