WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – A city man who told police that he had been paid in heroin to drive another addict to Holyoke to buy drugs is going to jail after all. In early October, 2013, city detectives staged an operation which included the surveillance of a known heroin user and dealer, Steven J. Nikiel, 38, of 8 Conner Ave., and observed him meet another man known to detectives from previous narcotics investigations, Ronald J. Markett, 46, of 171 Elizabeth Ave., who was operating his mother’s car.
The detectives followed the pair to Holyoke and, after a brief visit to an apartment complex there, back to Westfield. The officers reported seeing that the duo “made movement within the vehicle consistent with that of using narcotics as they were driving.”
One of the detectives said that at one point, as the vehicle he was in passed the suspect’s car on the turnpike, he thought that Markett had realized that he was being followed and was waving at the officers but later realized that the man was trying to discard an empty heroin packet which had stuck to his fingers.
The detectives had arranged to have a marked police cruiser available when Nikiel and Markett returned to their jurisdiction and the car was stopped at the bottom of Clay Hill by Officer Juanita Mejias. The officers found “a blue colored baggy” they recognized as a heroin packet and a white plastic straw in the car and Markett told the detectives that the items were his. He said that he had sniffed two bags of heroin on his way back from Holyoke and had thrown one empty bag out of his window. He also told detectives “that he received the two bags of heroin from Nikiel for payment of the ride to Holyoke.”
Markett appeared in Westfield District Court before Judge Laurie Macleod Jan. 15 and submitted to facts sufficient to warrant a guilty verdict of a charge of possession of a Class A drug. Macleod allowed the charge to be continued without a finding and placed Markett on probation for six months. However, on April 2, probation officers reported that Markett had tested positive for heroin and subsequently admitted using the drug.
On Tuesday, Markett appeared at a violation of probation hearing before Judge William Hadley in Westfield District Court and his probation was revoked. Hadley cited six reasons for the revocation including the unliklihood that the rehabilitative purpose of probation will be achieved, his record of pervious violations, the seriousness of the original offense and the recommendation of the probation department of the court. He found Markett to be guilty and ordered a six-month term in the house of correction with the recommendation that the term be served at The Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center on Howard Street in Ludlow where a program designed to provide for the custody, care and treatment of addicted offenders is available.
Media Credit: The Westfield News