Getting to the heart of opioid epidemic in Hanover


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November 8, 2018

by Adam Silva


Joanne Peterson knows firsthand the challenges that come with having a child struggle with drug addiction.

Peterson, the executive director of Learn to Cope, founded the program to help families in crisis in 2004 “out of desperation” to help her son who was battling a serious drug problem.

Learn to Cope was one of the organizations on hand on Oct. 24 in Hanover to discuss teen opioid prevention with a crowd of 30 people.

“Meetings like this are extremely important to the community and I wish they were more advertised so more people knew about them,” said Pat Moskowitz, a representative from Lean to Cope. “I really think this should have been a standing room only meeting. The overdose numbers are probably low because of Narcan. I believe there are a lot more overdoses that aren’t reported. They should be, but probably aren’t.”

Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz helps organize a drug abuse task force meeting every other month and invites people who can bring in new ideas to address the issue. Plymouth County Sheriff Joe McDonald, Hanover Police Chief Walter Sweeney and Team Sharing Inc. representative Cynthia Wyman were on hand at the meeting. State Rep. David DeCoste hosted the meeting.

“We do forums throughout the county when requested and we bring people in to talk about the problems and issues that we are facing,” said Cruz during the meeting at Center School in Hanover. “It’s gr

“We do forums throughout the county when requested and we bring people in to talk about the problems and issues that we are facing,” said Cruz during the meeting at Center School in Hanover. “It’s great to get the community involved and there were a lot of good questions tonight about what is going on with our county.”

Cruz told those in attendance that opioid addiction “doesn’t have a zip code, doesn’t matter if you’re in a city or town and doesn’t matter at all where you are.”

It can affect anyone, he said, including the families and loved ones of those who become addicted.


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Ten Charged in Drug Distribution Ring



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November 1, 2018

BOSTON – Ten individuals, most of whom are from Brockton, were charged today in federal court in Boston in a wide-ranging fentanyl and cocaine conspiracy.

Seven individuals were arrested today, two are currently in state custody, and one is at-large. The following 10 individuals were charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine:

  1. Djuna Goncalves, 32, of Brockton, currently in state custody;
  2. Cody Goncalves, 26, of Brockton, currently in state custody;
  3. Anthony Goncalves, 20, of Brockton, currently at-large;
  4. Angelo Pina, 27, of Brockton;
  5. Calvin Mendes, 40, of Brockton;
  6. Carlos Antunes, 33, of Brockton;
  7. Jermaine Gonsalves, 32, of Brockton;
  8. Ozair Pereira, 30, of Brockton;
  9. Joseph Greene, 21, of Taunton; and
  10. Brian Donahue, 38, of Truro

“This morning’s arrests should remind all gang members and drug traffickers that they cannot operate freely in this state,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Over the past year, in conjunction with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we have removed dozens of violent criminals from our communities, and we will continue to do so.”

"Operation Red Heat dismantled a large scale Fentanyl distribution ring making its home base on Addison Avenue, but with a trafficking reach far outside of Brockton’s borders,” said Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz. “I commend the work of Massachusetts State Police CINRET, Detectives in the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security, DEA and Brockton Police to take five guns and a half kilo of Fentanyl off the street. Their diligent police work quieted the drug activity in a Brockton neighborhood and made much of Plymouth County safer today.”

“This is another example of the ongoing efforts of the Brockton Police Department and the administration of Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter to partner with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to take the most violent repeat offenders off the streets and make Brockton a safer City,” said Brockton Police Chief John Crowley.

According to the charging document, in 2018, federal, state, and local law enforcement began investigating Djuna Goncalves and other alleged members of A Block, a violent Brockton Street gang whose members typically come from Addison Avenue or the surrounding neighborhood, which have for years been plagued by shootings, including two murders, and other crimes of violence.

It is alleged that during the investigation, Djuna Goncalves and his brothers Cody and Anthony Goncalves distributed large quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, and other drugs from an apartment on Addison Avenue to A Block members and other drug traffickers in Brockton and southeastern Massachusetts. Djuna and Cody Goncalves and Calvin Mendes distributed drugs while on pre-trial release for pending state drug trafficking and gun possession charges. Djuna Goncalves and Angelo Pina were previously convicted of drug trafficking offenses in federal court in Boston, and Pina is still on supervised release from his prior federal conviction.

On Oct. 21, 2018, Djuna Goncalves survived an assassination attempt after an unidentified assailant fired multiple shots into his basement apartment. It is alleged that when law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Goncalves’ home, they recovered an AK-47 assault rifle, a Glock .45 caliber pistol, a large number of ammunition clips to various types of firearms and accompanying ammunition, fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, Suboxone strips, a hydraulic press, packaging materials, digital scales, and approximately $12,000 in cash. Djuna and Cody Goncalves were subsequently arrested on state charges as a result of the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

--U.S. Attorney's Office

Plymouth County district attorney named president of state association


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By Cody Shepard

October 27, 2018

Timothy J. Cruz is again running for re-election in Plymouth County.

BROCKTON — Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has been nominated to be the president of an association consisting of all district attorneys in the state.

The Massachusetts District Attorney Association announced the nomination on Friday.

Cruz, who is again running for re-election in the county, has served as the president of the association twice before – in 2005 and 2010.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey is the current association president. A vote will be taken at the next association meeting, on Nov. 16, to confirm Cruz’s nomination.

Members of the association also nominated Hampden County District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni as vice president.

The association is an independent state agency with a mission to support the 11 elected district attorneys and their staff, including about 785 prosecutors and 260 victim-witness advocates.

“I have deep respect for all of my fellow district attorneys and am honored that they have nominated me to be president,” Cruz said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing our work together through MDAA.”

Cruz is running for re-election in the upcoming November election against John E. Bradley Jr., a former prosecutor in Cruz’s office. Bradley settled a wrongful termination lawsuit last year against Cruz for $248,000.

Cruz also currently serves as a vice president of the National District Attorneys Association.

Opinion Support Cruz for DA


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October 20, 2018

The opioid crisis has gripped our commonwealth. It is not partisan, does not discriminate, is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It impacts us all, whether you are an active user, are the friend or family of a person in distress, or have lost a loved one to an overdose. At this time of shared sorrow we need a champion to help. I am honored to endorse such a champion: Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz. He has protected children, the elderly, domestic violence victims, and the disabled from abuse by working collaboratively with local law enforcement, social service agencies, health care professionals, the faith community and educators on crime prevention initiatives throughout the county. DA Cruz has endorsed the availability of Narcan, the life-saving medicine that can reverse a potentially lethal overdose. The DA has helped support Drug Story Theater, bringing education to the middle and high schools across Plymouth County. He has worked to help the children who have been directly impacted by substance use in the family, following, supporting and implementing the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) program. By paying attention to the children DA Cruz hopes to avoid the next opioid crisis. I’m all for that.

Joseph Shrand, MD, Marshfield

Opinion LETTER: In support of District Attorney Tim Cruz


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October 13, 2018


District Attorney Tim Cruz deserves your support on Election Day.

As the former chief of police for the town of Plymouth, I worked very closely with District Attorney Tim Cruz for many years. I first met Tim in 1985 when he was a new assistant district attorney assigned to the Plymouth District Court. Even back then, I admired what I saw – a tenacious prosecutor who had compassion for victims.

As district attorney, Tim and his staff are aggressive prosecutors who work closely with federal, state and local law enforcement to take dangerous criminals off the street to protect the public. Tim also has a deep commitment to the victims of crime and they never forget the impact that crime has on them.

Tim Cruz is a professional who has earned the respect of law enforcement. He is also a leader that has demonstrated his commitment to proactive prevention of crime through drug, alcohol and safety education programs for students, parents and educators.

District Attorney Tim Cruz deserves your support on Election Day.

Robert J. Pomeroy, Plymouth chief of police (ret.)

Plymouth County Outreach awarded


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By: Joe DiFazio

October 11, 2018

Plymouth County Outreach, a South Shore coalition of law enforcement and health care providers fighting opioid abuse, has won a national community policing award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The outreach program sends a team of plainclothes police officers and a recovery coach or clinician to the homes of overdose survivors to give them and their families information about resources available to them on the South Shore. The group also sets up weekly “drop-in centers” where people struggling with opioid abuse can learn about recovery options.

The award was presented to the outreach group in a ceremony in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday. The effort grew out of a collaboration between Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald.

“I am extremely proud of this recognition and this forward thinking of our police chiefs who made Plymouth County Outreach a nationally recognized initiative,” McDonald said in a statement. “We have work ahead of us but the strides being made to increase awareness on support services for people struggling with substance use disorder is critical and saving lives.”

Plymouth County Outreach is led by Plymouth Police Chief Michael Boteiri and East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen.

Plymouth County DA’s Office to receive $500,000 federal grant to fight opioid epidemic


October 4, 2018

BROCKTON - Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz’s Office has been awarded a federal grant that will enhance office efforts to reach drug endangered children.

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office will receive the $541,300 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, according to a press release. The grant was created to address an urgent gap in crime victim services related to the opioid epidemic and to expand upon existing or establish new programs to provide services to youth who are victimized as a result of the opioid crisis.

“Unfortunately, far too many children are being exposed to overdosing parents,” DA Cruz said. “Securing this grant money will help assist us in enhancing the capacity of Plymouth County to respond to the trauma that these children are witnessing. Through training, direct services, and building community partnerships, we can help identify who these kids are and help them build up the resilience to overcome this adversity. I am hopeful that this approach at reaching children at a younger age, when they are most vulnerable will benefit them in the long run. This is an extremely competitive process and we are honored to have received this grant.”

Cruz will use these critical funds to train law enforcement, schools, and community partners on identifying drug endangered children and developing the proper trauma sensitive response. In addition, Cruz is excited to partner with The Family Center at Community Connections of Brockton, a program of the United Way of Greater Plymouth County. The Family Center will be using funds to hire a clinical director to work directly with drug endangered children. The clinical director will also be working alongside Plymouth County Outreach, a collaboration of 28 police departments in Plymouth County dedicated to providing immediate outreach to overdose victims.

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12 Mass Programs Awarded over $8.4 Million to Combat Opioid Crisis


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October 3, 2018

BOSTON – The Department of Justice is awarding over $8.4 million to 12 Massachusetts programs that are working to combat the opioid crisis through prevention, treatment and enforcement.

On the first day of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice is awarding nearly $320 million in federal funding to help those most impacted by the deadliest drug crisis in American history. Of that, the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is awarding $8.4 million to 12 Massachusetts programs.

“In 2017, over 2,000 Massachusetts residents died from drug overdoses,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “The opioid crisis is an unprecedented public health crisis in the United States, but we are committed to the President’s plan to end the epidemic through prevention, treatment and enforcement. With over $8 million in federal grant funding, programs in Massachusetts can expand to serve larger populations, increase services, and support those who are most impacted by this deadly epidemic. I applaud the grant recipients for their commitment to serve their communities in this way.”

Among the recipients is Plymouth County Outreach (PCO), which was awarded $496,650. PCO is an opioid prevention and recovery coalition made up of 27 municipal police departments in Plymouth County, along with the Bridgewater State University Police, District Attorney Timothy Cruz and Sheriff Joseph McDonald. PCO partners with healthcare, treatment and recovery agencies, local coalitions, faith-based organizations and hospitals to connect at-risk persons with treatment and recovery options in advance of an overdose. PCO will be honored for their work by the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Leadership in Community Policing Award on Oct. 9th in Orlando, Fla.

In addition, Wayside Youth and Family Support Network was awarded $481,428. Wayside’s Trauma Intervention Services will use the funding to provide counseling and advocacy to children and families who have suffered due the opioid crisis in Worcester, Norfolk and Middlesex counties.

Other recipients of federal grant funding in Massachusetts include:

  • The Middle District Attorney’s Office awarded one grant of $360,000 and one of $500,000;
  • Boston  Police Department awarded $305,362;
  • City of Holyoke Police Department awarded $448,025;
  • Massachusetts Administrative Office of the Trial Court awarded $1.5 million;
  • Advocates for Human Potential awarded $1.55 million;
  • City of Worcester awarded $$744,668;
  • Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office awarded $541,300;
  • Franklin County Sheriff’s Office awarded $1,000,999; and
  • LUK Crisis Center awarded $500,000.

The complete list of grant funding is available here.

October marks two important anti-drug events: Red Ribbon Week and National Prescription Drug Takeback Day. Red Ribbon Week(link is external) takes place every year between October 23-31 and encourages students, parents, schools, and communities to promote drug-free lifestyles. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 27 provides a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also preventing drug addiction and overdose deaths. DOJ expanded on DEA’s Drug Takeback Days and collected more than 2.7 million pounds of expired or unused prescription drugs since April 2017.

Recovery Rally at the Plymouth Recovery Center


September 20, 2018

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Plymouth County: DA Tim Cruz talks with WATD’s Christine James


September 14, 2018

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