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4 men charged in separate drug trafficking cases around Mass. and Cass, Dorchester

The arrests are part of a "crackdown" on drug dealing around Mass. and Cass and other Boston neighborhoods, prosecutors said.

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
Tents lined Topeka Street near Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in 2021. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe, File

Four men are facing charges of trafficking fentanyl and other drugs in Boston, the result of a “crackdown” by authorities on drug dealing in the area of Mass. and Cass and other neighborhoods, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. 

“I have no intention of allowing the quality of life in our neighborhoods to be undermined by these types of crimes,” District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement. 

Rafael Escalera, 60, of Mattapan was arrested by Boston police in the area of 100 Southampton St. on June 2 after officers from the department’s Drug Control Unit allegedly witnessed him conducting a drug sale, according to the DA’s office. When the officers searched him, they allegedly found 8 grams of fentanyl and $368 in cash.

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The 60-year-old was arraigned the next day in the Roxbury Division of Boston Municipal Court on charges of trafficking fentanyl, distribution of a Class A substance, and resisting arrest. His bail was set at $10,000, and he was ordered to stay away from the Mass. and Cass area. 

Steven Hixon, 32, of Framingham was also ordered to stay away from the Mass. and Cass area after he was arrested on June 8 by officers patrolling the area of Andrew Square and Southampton Street who allegedly witnessed him selling drugs and found 20 grams of fentanyl, two bags of methamphetamine, and $3,590 on him during a search, according to the DA’s office. He was arraigned the next day in Roxbury on charges of trafficking fentanyl, distribution of a Class B substance, and possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance. Bail was set at $5,000. 

In Dorchester, police arrested 56-year-old Jasper Bing of Jamaica Plain on June 9, and he was arraigned on charges of distribution of a Class B substance as a subsequent offense, possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance as a subsequent offense, possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance, assault and battery of a police officer, and resisting arrest, according to the DA’s office. Prosecutors said officers conducting surveillance in the area of Dorchester Avenue and Bailey Street witnessed Bing conducting drug transactions, arrested him “after a brief struggle,” and found one bag of white rocks and 21 bags of apparent crystal meth in his possession. Bail was set at $500, and he was ordered to stay away from the Dunkin’ on Dorchester Avenue. 

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Also in Dorchester, police arrested Jose Martinez, 27, of Everett on June 18 after police searched his vehicle and his apartment in the neighborhood, allegedly finding 20.5 grams of crack cocaine, a .40-cal bullet, and $17,545 in cash. He was arraigned on charges of trafficking cocaine and illegal possession of ammunition, and his bail was set at $10,000.

“These are not low-level offenses that should be dealt with leniently,” Hayden said in a statement announcing the arraignments. “These are dangerous activities that degrade our neighborhoods, burden our public safety and health agencies, and contribute to the alarmingly high rate of opioid overdoses we’re seeing in Boston and across the state.”

Last week, a group of elected officials urged state, Boston, and transit police to conduct a “city-wide warrant sweep” to help address public safety concerns. 

“Simply put, the conditions in and around Andrew Square, in our public housing communities, parks, and along Southampton Street are dangerous, inhumane, and unacceptable,” the lawmakers wrote. “This public health and safety crisis requires urgent action to both help those who suffer from substance use disorder and preserve quality of life in our communities.”

The elected officials — Congressman Stephen Lynch, state Sen. Nick Collins, state Rep. David Biele, Boston City Council President Ed Flynn, and City Councilors Michael Flaherty, Erin Murphy, and Frank Baker — asked that police utilize the state’s involuntary commitment law, Section 35, to intervene “with those suffering from mental health and substance abuse with a likelihood of serious harm to themselves or others.”

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“We write to support and request a city-wide warrant sweep so that any and all outstanding warrants be executed prioritizing those individuals with a history of violence or human-, gun-, and drug-trafficking,” the group wrote.

Hayden, the interim Suffolk County district attorney, who is seeking a full term this November, announced last month a plan to aid, not prosecute, those struggling with addiction in the area of Mass. and Cass, which has become an epicenter for the region’s overlapping homelessness and overdose crises. The “Services Over Sentences” program allows those arrested on a charge related to substance use and mental illness, depending on the case, to opt into treatment, with the potential for charges to be dismissed or mitigated upon completion of the program.

But Hayden has stressed his office will continue to prosecute “anyone who victimizes the vulnerable residents in and around Mass. and Cass.”

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