Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hooked on College

Sort of became the theme of the day. Sorry. 

"Charges filed in death of UMass student who was drug informant" by Travis Andersen and Eric Bosco Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent  September 29, 2015

The mother of a University of Massachusetts Amherst student involved in a controversial campus informant program who later died of a heroin overdose praised prosecutors on Monday for bringing criminal charges against her son’s alleged drug dealer.

Related: College Commencements

Of course, the Supreme Court has ruled (little notice) he's not liable.

“I felt relief that Eric is going to get some kind of justice,” said Francesca Sinacori, the mother of Eric Sinacori, by phone from her home in New Jersey. “I want this to be a warning to all the drug dealers that you’re not going to get a slap on the wrist, you’re going to get charged with manslaughter.”

She spoke to the Globe hours after a grand jury returned indictments charging former University of Massachusetts graduate student Jesse Carrillo, 27, of Derry, N.H., with involuntary manslaughter and distributing heroin in connection with the death of Sinacori, 20, who worked for campus police as a confidential informant in the year before his 2013 overdose.

Carrillo is scheduled to be arraigned later this week in Hampshire Superior Court, according to Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan’s office.

Carrillo’s family could not be reached for comment.

Sinacori’s death was highlighted in a Globe investigative series that revealed shortcomings in the campus police informant program.

In January, university Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy announced that the school was ending the program, after a university-appointed panel completed a highly critical report.

Regular law enforcement can still use them, though.

The report concluded that the informant system was too secretive and may have harmed the informants by allowing them to avoid treatment for their drug problems in exchange for helping police catch other offenders.

In Sinacori’s case, police had investigated him for selling LSD and the club drug Molly in his dormitory in 2012, but they agreed not to press charges if he helped them catch another drug dealer, which he did.

As a result, university officials never told Sinacori’s parents about his involvement with drugs, raising questions about whether they did enough to get him the help he needed.

“We are fully supportive of the district attorney’s work to pursue justice in this tragic case,” said Ed Blaguszewski, a spokesman for UMass Amherst, in a statement Monday night. “Jesse Carrillo is not a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and he has been . . . prohibited from being on university property since October 2014.”

Francesca Sinacori initially requested anonymity for her son, whom the Globe identified with a pseudonym. However, she later went public on ABC’s “20/20” about what she believed was a missed opportunity to save Eric, noting that police found a hypodermic needle in his dorm room during a drug raid a year before his death.

Francesca Sinacori said that she had no idea that her son was using heroin or dealing drugs and that she would have gotten immediate help for him had she known. Instead, Eric’s father discovered their son’s body in his apartment when they visited on parents’ weekend in 2013.

That has to be a horrible find. 

“I never want another parent to go through what Eric’s father and I have gone through,” she said Monday. “I’m happy my son is getting justice; it’s not going to bring him back but it’s something.”

In May, she expressed frustration that Carrillo had not yet been charged, even though Sullivan’s office had possession of her son’s cellphone, which contained a chilling text exchange between Eric and his suspected dealer.

“My veins are crying . . . is the traffic gonna be bad?” Eric Sinacori texted the alleged drug dealer late on Oct. 3, 2013.

“I know you’re hurting but you will very soon be in the loving comforting arms of Miss H,” the dealer allegedly replied. Sinacori died within hours.

Francesca Sinacori said Monday that she hopes to attend Carrillo’s arraignment.

“I want to see action. I think it will hit me more in reality when I see it,” she said.

She also delivered a stern message to Carrillo.

“Justice will be served,” she said. “You took my son and by taking my son, you’ve ruined your own life. You did this to yourself.”


One might be surprised that there are bullies on the UMass campus. Maybe you should attend a community college first.

Meanwhile, back in the room:

Ex-UMass student arraigned for manslaughter

Defendant in UMass rape case sentenced

Sex assault reported in BU dormitory

‘College age’ suspect sought in BU dorm room assault

Even without Olympics, UMass Boston should still build dorms

Harvard program lets students rent art for dorms

Harvard Medical School puts strict ethics rules under microscope

They are worried about corporate influence amid complaints, but I'm sure the geniuses are on the ball over there and can explain the high drug price.

"Years of lackluster returns distress Harvard’s president" by Beth Healy Globe Staff  October 08, 2015

It’s a rare day when the president of Harvard University openly frets about the investment performance of its endowment, the largest in the education world.

But that’s exactly what Drew G. Faust did this week, making clear that the $37.6 billion fund is on watch, after being trounced by its Ivy League rivals — not just last year, but over 10 years.

Faust told the Harvard Crimson she was concerned that the school’s results badly lagged those of peers such as Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Harvard relies on its endowment to fund 35 percent of its yearly budget.

Critics are asking how the broadly diversified portfolio approach, honed at Yale and Harvard and now largely adopted industrywide, has apparently failed at Harvard, with the highest-paid staff in the industry.

And how all this could be in an era of record stock prices.

Former Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers, who presided at the university before the crisis, also criticized the endowment, telling the Crimson it was “deeply troubling” that the fund has lagged peers since then.

Yeah, Larry is now a health and labor nut.

Summers had encouraged the university to invest its operating cash in the endowment, a strategy that made money for years, but backfired after he left. Harvard in 2009 disclosed that it lost $1.8 billion in cash invested in the endowment.

He criticized management of the endowment after he helped gut it?

Summers has long maintained that the university should have changed course after he left in 2006. Harvard’s former treasurer also acknowledged that at the time....

What, that he's the guy he $crewed everything up (just as he did with the U.S. economy as Treasury Secretary)?


If not them, then surely MIT can. 

So where is the stuff coming from?

"Major heroin ring broken up in Southeastern Mass., officials say" by Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  October 01, 2015

TAUNTON — The sun had yet to rise over this middle-class mill city on a windy Thursday morning when a team of federal agents and state and local police crept up Oak Street to the white apartment house, where they believed the right-hand man of another drug trafficking organization had been staying with his girlfriend.

In a matter of seconds, the officers stormed into the apartment and subdued Willie Rodriguez. A young boy in the apartment was brought aside to safety, and authorities began combing the apartment with their flashlights, searching for the heroin and fentanyl Rodriguez has allegedly been dealing. 

I hope they got the right place.

Across the city, law enforcement teams conducted similar sweeps targeting high-level drug dealers, on Mador Avenue and Hart Street, as well as in Fall River and Providence. By the end of their operation Thursday morning, authorities charged 25 people with dealing heroin, a handgun was confiscated, and 100 grams of fentanyl was seized, a pain reliever that, when mixed with heroin, has been deadly.

What happens is they get clogged in the court system and are released pending charges. 

Sure makes law enforcement look good every few months, though, while giving them something to do to justify their budgets.

If the region’s heroin epidemic has an epicenter, then it could be Taunton, where the cries of city officials, addicts, and their families were finally heard last year after a series of heroin overdose deaths.

The city has seen some of the highest per capita overdose deaths for any community in the state: Last year, there were 209 overdoses and 14 deaths. This year, 157 people have overdosed and nine have died.

And in a multi-pronged effort to combat the crisis, Thursday’s operation was part of law enforcement’s response. The raid was the second large-scale operation in Taunton in less than four months; in July, 24 people were arrested in a similar sweep.

Related: Drug War Retreat

“You have to take out the whole organization, the leaders and the runners, because otherwise they’re just going to have someone to take their place,” Michael J. Ferguson, special agent in charge of the US Drug Enforcement Administration in Boston, said outside the Oak Street house as cars whizzed by in the dark.

“We’re always building toward a bigger case, finding out who the bigger players are,” he said in an interview. “This is about the long-term result.” 

Until they reach the echelons where there is intelligence agency involvement.

Thursday’s raids were partly a follow-up to the initial operation in July. A task force of detectives allegedly identified a key heroin dealer in Marshfield and learned that the source of his drugs was Dedwin Cruz- Rivera, also known as “Cua,” who had been evading authorities for years.

“He’s one of the biggest heroin dealers in Taunton,” Ferguson said. “After we leave today, there’s still going to be heroin in Taunton, but it’s making an impact. It makes an impact. And it sends a message.”

At a press conference at the Taunton Police Department Thursday, law enforcement officials displayed some of the fentanyl that was seized (more than 300 grams of the drug was confiscated during the investigation), and they said the arrests of certain high-profile dealers were a “banner day” for area law enforcement.

“It is my hope that this gives some piece of mind to the people in the neighborhoods of Taunton, and the surrounding areas,” US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said.

Police Chief Edward Walsh said the collaboration with federal authorities — who can levy charges with tougher penalties, including mandatory jail sentences — was needed to prosecute notorious dealers who have been able to evade jail for so long.

“The last year and a half has been a difficult time for Taunton,” the chief said. “Heroin is a problem in our society, it is a problem in our community.”

Ferguson, a native of Boston and a DEA veteran of 26 years, has chased drug dealers on the Mexican border, tracked down money launderers in Singapore, and overseen DEA policy and operations in Washington, D.C., but he calls the region’s heroin epidemic the worst he’s seen in his years in drug enforcement.

Heroin is sold on the streets at the purest form law enforcement officials have seen. Also, it is increasingly mixed with fentanyl, in what Ferguson called a “deadly cocktail.”

He said the region needs a multilateral approach to combat the demand for the drug, because law enforcement cannot solve the crisis alone. Of those who suffer from heroin addiction, four out of five say it began with an addiction to prescription painkillers. Heroin simply became cheaper for them to feed their habit.

Ferguson said it has become too easy for people to obtain painkillers, leading to addiction. He pointed to the DEA’s recent investigation into Massachusetts General Hospital’s poor controls over its drug stocks, enabling employees to divert controlled substances for personal use. The hospital agreed to pay a $2.3 million settlement with federal authorities and to address its lax controls.

I was wondering where all the poisons were coming from.

Ferguson also alluded to the violence that comes with the drug trade. One of the targets during the law enforcement raids in July fired a gunshot at officers who were entering his home. No one was injured.

“It just shows you how brazen they are, and the lengths they’ll go to protect themselves and their heroin,” he said.


Nothing will change regarding the revolving door policy deployed in the drug war, for the simple fact that it is government agencies themselves that are the biggest drug smugglers, and the black profits also bolster the bottom lines of banks. 

UPDATE: Bridgewater State University releases sketch of rape suspect