Suspect In Mid-Island Drug Bust Held On Bail
By David Creed •
Ariste A. Lemus-Ramirez, the island resident who was arrested in the aftermath of a major drug bust on Nantucket last week, was arraigned on drug trafficking charges in Nantucket District Court Monday morning and was held on $25,000 bail. New court documents obtained by the Current allege Lemus-Ramirez was in possession of 874 fentanyl pills weighing 94 grams, 690 pills of Methamphetamine weighing 247 grams, 8.6 ounces of marijuana, over 30 MDMA pills, other unidentified yellow and multi-colored tablets, and $31,505 in cash found in a safe, drawers, bags, and a Bible.
Lemus-Ramirez, 26, had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf and is being held in the Barnstable House of Corrections. He will be back in court on April 11 for a status review hearing at 11 a.m. If he is able to post bail in the future, he will be required to surrender his U.S. passport and comply with a GPS monitoring device.
The official charges Lemus-Ramirez was arraigned on were March 16 charges of possessing a class D drug with the intent to distribute, trafficking more than 10 grams of fentanyl, distributing a class B drug, and trafficking 200 grams or more of heroin/morphine/opium/fentanyl.
According to the statement of facts provided by the Nantucket Police Department, Lemus-Ramirez had been the subject of a major investigation by the Nantucket Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, and federal agencies including the United States Drug Enforcement Administration for a period of time prior to the March 16 drug bust.
After becoming aware of suspicious packages sent via USPS to and from Lemus-Ramirez’s Fifth Way residence, Nantucket Police Detective Amanda Schwenk requested and obtained a search warrant for his home that would be granted on the condition that an identified USPS package with a tracking number known to the law enforcement agencies was delivered and accepted at the home.
An undercover USPIS agent approached the Fifth Way residence last Wednesday with the package and knocked on the door, according to the report. An individual answered the door and the agent asked if Lemus-Ramirez was home. The person replied saying 'yes' and went to get him. When Lemus-Ramirez approached the door he accepted the package. The agent immediately identified themself after the package was accepted, put Lemus-Ramirez in handcuffs, and told Lemus-Ramirez he was being detained.
The search warrant was executed on Wednesday, March 16, at approximately 11:40 a.m. by the island’s detective unit, the DEA task force, United States Postal Inspector Service, Massachusetts State Police, and the Barnstable Police K-9 Unit, as well as members of the United States Coast Guard Criminal Investigations Unit.
NPD Lieutenant Tom Clinger opened the package accepted by Lemus-Ramirez and found a sealed plastic bag wrapped inside of a white t-shirt. There was another plastic bag wrapped inside containing a large quantity of small blue pills later identified as Fentanyl by DEA Special Agent Kelly Munger.
The search eventually moved downstairs to Lemus-Ramirez’s bedroom. Police said the drugs/narcotics found in this room included a medium-sized plastic bag containing a small amount of MDMA, a Class B substance; a medium-sized jar containing a large amount of oval orange pills that were determined to be methamphetamines, a Class B substance; a large plastic bag containing marijuana, a Class D substance; and a medium sized bottle containing 36 pills labeled “Buddah Kraton,” which were later identified as the MDMA.
Police said that $32 in cash, various sized plastic bags, two scales, two cellphones, nine liquids used for at-home test kits for various narcotics/substances, a small green notebook with notes/names written in it, multiple lighters, a stack of over 20 small rectangular pieces of tinfoil with burnt residue inside of them were also found in the room.
Police said they also found a bottle of prescribed cough syrup with the information of who it was prescribed to ripped off, three containers of caffeine pills (two sealed, one unsealed with a white powdery substance inside of it), and a bag containing various unknown yellow pills and another bag containing various unknown red, green, yellow, and blue tablets.
There was a search of another bedroom containing many of Lemus-Ramirez’s items including clothing, shoes, and empty shipping boxes and shipping envelopes with his name on them.
Two bags containing a large amount of the seized cash were found and another large sum of cash was found inside of a bedroom table and Bible. Three more notebooks were also found on a table with handwritten names and money amounts in them. All the items were photographed and placed into evidence bags.
Ramirez declined to speak with a DEA agent and Schwenk unless he had a lawyer. After being given the opportunity to contact his attorney, he did not and an interview did not take place.
Drug overdose deaths in the United States have surged during the pandemic, reaching a record high for the period ending Oct. 2021, with about two-thirds of those deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.