The used-car lot where you couldn't buy a car
Take a look at a June, 2016 photo of the lot at Pacific Auto Sales, 221 Hancock St. in Dorchester, and you see a couple dozen cars, all under bright pennants.
But, federal officials say, none of the cars were actually for sale - just their contents were.
In a statement and court filing this week, the US Attorney's office in Boston and a DEA special agent say the small lot, just a quick jag down Hancock from Dorchester Avenue, was a place where a large-scale drug ring run by Deiby Victoria of Saugus and Starling Bladmil Gonzalez of Roslindale sold heroin, fentanyl and cocaine to smaller Boston-area dealers.
According to the US Attorney's office, the ring used the cars on the lot as storage bins for drugs: "The members of the organization collected payments and then directed drug buyers to the cars in which the drugs were hidden." Most of the cars were seized during raids Tuesday morning.
State records show Pacific Auto Sales being owned by Ramon Bernabel, who lists addresses in Roslindale and Dorchester. In an affidavit filed in connection with the charges in US District Court, however, a DEA agent says that's an alias for Wilson Baez, whose brother, Vinicio Baez, was one of 19 people charged Tuesday with conspiring to distribute heroin, Fentanyl and cocaine.
Wilson Baez was not among those charged on Tuesday. Officials say Vinicio Baez ran the lot with his brother - and that they have video and audio recordings tying him and the lot to the drug ring.
In early September, for example, the affidavit said Vinicio Baez, who had recently been robbed of 3 kilograms of cocaine at gunpoint, likely right at the used-car lot, met with a man at the lot he thought could help him either get back the cocaine or the equivalent amount of money. He gave the man - who was a "cooperating witness" working with the feds - "a sample of drugs" and urged him to tell other dealers the lot was open for business. "The CW gave this sample to FBI agents, and the sample field tested positive for Fentanyl."
The affidavit continues:
On September 21, 2016, investigators intercepted a call over Target Telephone #1 between VICTORIA and a drug customer who VICTORIA called SANTANA. During the call, VICTORIA and SANTANA discussed that no cars were sold at Pacific Auto. SANTANA said, “I don’t like being there either. You know they deal their stuff there. It is very hot there.” VICTORIA replied, “That’s where they do everything buddy. You heard?” As detailed above, SANTANA told investigators that he believed VINICIO was selling drugs from Target Location #5. I believe SANTANA and VICTORIA were talking about how VINICIO sells drugs from this location (“deal their stuff”).
The affidavit also describes video from Nov. 30 that shows a woman driving into the lot and appearing to arrange a drug purchase with Vinicio Baez - who directed a lot employee to get the woman what looked like a drug package and then hand it to her as she sat in her car.
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Pacific in the name
is a red flag all in itself.
It's also not uncommon to finance a legitimate business (nail,/hair salon, etc.) as part of a money laundering scheme.
I would just take that to mean that most of the cars are Japanese (or Korean).
You Should Call That Guy From The Globe
It appears you can't get what you want at Harvard, but the Kane Square periphery has got what you need.
Good riddance by the way. Let's hope the Feds get this property on the market as a housing site soon. It is across from the proposed Dot Block and would be one more step moving Glover's Corner away from the seedy reputation it has had since the 70's; the 1870's.
It used to be farm land, so technically it's been seedy for a lot longer than that.
for the meetings with residents where they claim that whatever proposed building is too tall/short or has too many/few parking spaces or the coffee shop/restaurant will be too loud/compete with their favorite joint
I would back any residents complaining about traffic there
Based on my trips there yesterday and today (today to take photos that were better than the unusable ones that I took yesterday). There's this little triangular kinda rotary kitty-corner from the lot that has got to have more horribleness per square inch than any other intersection in the city.
Wow - that's kind of an amazing intersection. In plan layout, it's kind of pretty. Sounds like a nightmare to traverse, though!
Aside from the volume if you
Aside from the volume if you follow the signs it's not bad. Traffic on pleasant merging onto Hancock and vice versa has the right of way. Everyone else is a yield or stop. It's not a rotary but dot lock wants to make one there.
I go through there fairly frequently at rush hour and it is surpsingly easy and quick to navigate, despite the fact that the layout is bizarre.
Fine to drive thru
Have to be a little more vigilant than usual, like in a rotary.
Seems many drivers don't know or care about right of ways so you just have to give leeway sometimes.
Seeing all the drivers going right off Hancock towards Dot Ave w/o yielding or being attentive would make me hyper-cautious as a a pedestrian.
I'd honestly try to cross elsewhere. Rotary would probably be worse, esp. for peds. Nobody knows how those things are supposed to work and they allow you to keep a decent speed going if there aren't cars nearby.
Hancock heading east has a
Hancock heading east has a stop sign there, not a yield. Crossing actually isn't that bad. Not nearly as bad as the Hancock/Bowdoin intersection.
That's even worse
I've driven thru that intersection quite a bit for over 30 years and I've always been cautious of cars coming off Hancock because I've seen plenty of them not yield never mind stop.
Quantitation of traffic horribleness per square inch
I loved that description Adam!. I actually live in one of those house pictured behind the car lot in your post. For starters....totally gobsmacked about the drug wholesale operation--we had NO idea! Next to that car/dope dealership is another car place where those non-street-legal motorbikes congregate which is the place that generates the most ill-will in the neighborhood (and that place had a raid to round those bikes up last year).
And everyone that lives in all the houses pictured are lovely people--kind, helpful, educated, employed, neighborly, etc.
As for that intersection--it's kinda terrible but actually manages pretty okay. I ride my bike through it twice a day (commuting) and most of the flow goes well. I think because the vast majority of those going through it know the layout so it isn't catching many people off guard.
If more people coming from Pleasant toward the circle used their blinkers to indicate whether entering the circle or going to the right would be helpful. But it's not a circle of death even on a bicycle.
I know the feeling
One of the alleged ring leaders lives (lived, rather, given that he's currently a guest of the federal government) a relatively short walk from our house - a major heroin kingpin in our neighborhood?
And maybe I was a bit harsh on that intersection because a) I was preoccupied by looking for a parking space at the time and b) I'm not from around there, so am just not used to it. It wasn't like driving down the Jamaicaway at night for the first time or anything like that!
Not TOO bad there, actually.
Not TOO bad there, actually.
Some frustration, but plenty of worse places in the city.
I actually like that intersection
Most folks around here know how to keep traffic moving at a consistent pace through there. But as a first timer Adam I don't blame you.
I'm still on the fence about Dot Block though. While the additional housing for the city is a positive but the last thing Dorchester, or most of Boston, needs is more cars. And people love their cars. Dot Ave in the AM moves at snail's pace, a big reason why I ride the T. When you add in that many condos/apartments... things will become worse. Then begin thinking about the additional riders to Savin Hill and at JFK with the Hub25 apartments, the MBTA better start running 1:1 for trains. No more of this 2 Braintree trains to every 1 Ashmont train.
The neighborhood has actually
The neighborhood has actually been mostly in support of Dotblock. The opposition came late in the 4th quarter from union members who live in the burbs.
-Jones Hill resident
But were they also selling
the Devil's Lettuce?
Also, no retail trade - they were strictly wholesale.
They have a website
Pacific Auto Sales
to that intersection. DotBlock wanted a roundabout (not a rotary), but City forced a traditional 4 pronged signalized intersection with the fourth prong being the new entrance to DotBlock's parking garage access road.
Most of the buildings/land uses along the southern edge from here to Dot Ave could use a total revamp.
The question that jumps to
The question that jumps to the front of my mind with this news has nothing to do with intersection layouts and yield signs.
It's "Doesn't the BPD gang unit still operate a substation out of the old Municipal Police building at the intersection of Hancock & Bowdoin - 375 feet away from this car lot?"
Yes, but so?
This sort of question comes up a lot whenever there's some sort of crime right near a police station (or even better, BPD HQ on Tremont Street). The thing is, you actually don't want cops just hanging out in the same location all the time - you want them out all over the place. So I'm sure the gang-unit cops report to that location for roll call and to fill out paperwork, but the rest of the time, no, they're not going to be there in any greater force than anywhere else in the city.
And when they find something worth investigating, then they swarm. If you read the affidavit, it's pretty obvious that once investigators realized what was going on at the car lot, they had it under near constant supervision (in this case, federal investigators, not BPD, but BPD had its own major heroin ring under surveillance at pretty much the same time).
And it doesn't seem gang related at all
Personally I want to see my gangs police going after gangs.
Call me crazy but I bet if there were a bunch of graffiti and people hanging out throwing up gang signs and claiming the spot to passerby the gang unit would have taken notice.
A "large-scale drug ring" is
A "large-scale drug ring" is NOT a gang?
Yeah, maybe not the certain type of gang that gang unit specializes in, since this ring appears to have been wholesalers/distributors to smaller local dealers, but I think that if the gang unit noticed something that wasn't strictly their purview they would at least give C-11 a phone call.
My point was that (a) it took nerve, if not a lot of sense, to stage this type of operation on a lot where their comings and goings and activities could have been seen or monitored at any time from a window of A POLICE STATION, and (b) if it took an inordinately long time to notice something odd was going on here, maybe community policing plans need to be tweaked a bit.
Gang unit is formally the Youth Violence Strike Force
They're getting guns and bad actors off the streets. Mostly young guys actually on the streets. So I see no reason why a used car dealership would draw any attention from them.
But who's to say it didn't? They might have noticed something and mentioned it to their team or superiors and were informed that it was being addressed.
These guys are elite cops trained to be hyper aware for their own survival. They're dealing with violent felons every single day. I doubt they're driving anywhere in Dot or the city (or anywhere at all, fro that matter) whistling Dixie w/o a care in the world.
And on the same note I doubt they're looking out the window daydreaming when they're in their shop. Pretty sure they're prepping to surprise some armed criminals that really don't want to go to jail.
I do remember that the police
I do remember that the police raided the nearby tire shop next door (last year I believe), and seized a couple of dozen dirt bikes. That whole corner is ripe for a big clean up once the Dotblock development gets going across the street.
Next door, 233 Hancock was purchased by a developer two years ago for $550k. The irony is that the owner of 221 could likely have made more money the legit way by selling his land to a developer than by dealing drugs. He would have made enough to send his kids to a nice college with the proceeds if he was so inclined. Instead of that, he is probably going to rot in jail for a few years, and will likely come out penniless.
State records show Pacific
State records show Pacific Auto Sales being owned by Ramon Bernabel, .......a DEA agent says that's an alias for Wilson Baez, whose brother, Vinicio Baez,
How the heck you own a business with an "alias" ???? and you don't go to prison.
The secretary of state's office, where you file business incorporation papers, doesn't normally do detailed background checks on the names of people who file those papers.
If you look on google streetview, you can go back in time to the first time this location was photographed by the googlecar. In this case, that is 2007.
It was a dealership then, and had a consistent look all the way through about six sweeps in nine years.
Well there used to be a car wash right next door, i think that whole block should be looked at....and that bar on the corner of payson ave and Hancock street, should be looked into. Just Sayin....