Four men arraigned on Mass and Cass-area drug trafficking charges

Four men were arraigned in separate Mass and Cass-area drug trafficking cases this month in what the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is calling a “crackdown” in the area and other Boston neighborhoods.

“These are not low-level offenses that should be dealt with leniently,” Suffolk DA Kevin Hayden said in a statement. “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.”

Jose Martinez, 27, of Everett, was arraigned on Tuesday on trafficking cocaine and illegal possession of ammunition charges following a Boston police search of his vehicle and apartment in Dorchester. Bail was set at $10,000.

His charges follow a string of similar cases starting with Rafael Escalera, 60, of Mattapan, who was charged with trafficking fentanyl, distribution of a Class A substance and resisting arrest. In Roxbury court, the judge set bail at $10,000 and ordered that Escalara stay away from Mass and Cass. Boston Police say they found 18 grams of fentanyl on him when they searched him on Southampton Street.

Steven Hixon, 32, of Framingham, also faces a trafficking fentanyl charge, along with distribution of a Class B substance and possession with intent to distribute the substance. Hixon was arraigned in Roxbury, where the judge set $5,000 bail and ordered him to stay away from Mass and Cass. Police allegedly found 20 grams of fentanyl and two bags of methamphetamine on Hixon when they searched him around Andrew Square.

Finally, Jasper Bing, 56, of Jamaica Plain, was arraigned in Dorchester 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 on a police officer and resisting arrest. The judge set $500 cash bail and ordered Bing to stay away from the Dunkin’ on Dorchester Avenue.

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In a statement, the Suffolk DA’s Office said the arrests were part of a “crackdown on drug dealing” at Mass and Cass and other Boston neighborhoods. The DA’s Office didn’t return a request for details and length of this crackdown by press time.

Boston Police spokesman Sgt. Detective John Boyle said the department had not been increasing its patrols in the Mass and Cass area but does “continue to concentrate on that area” with multiple units.

Boyle said these arrests had nothing to do with the signed letter the Herald reported on that called for a city-wide drug warrant sweep. All of these arrests occurred ahead of that letter.