Suspicious package mailed to hotel turns into drug bust in Stoughton
Box mailed to woman at hotel contained 3,280 Percocet pills
STOUGHTON - The white package wrapped in tape that arrived at the Courtyard by Marriott at 4 p.m. Thursday had been tagged as suspicious by a U.S. postal inspector.
The woman to whom the box was addressed hadn’t checked into the hotel, so the Marriott turned the package over to police. A drug-sniffing dog sensed narcotics inside.
When the woman arrived at the hotel about midnight and asked for the package, Stoughton police delivered it. When she told them she did not know what was inside, they opened it, discovering 3,280 30-milligram Percocet pills with a street value of $98,400.
Percocets, made of the highly addictive drug oxycodone, have become the drug of choice for teens and young adults, according to police.
Recent arrests involving Percocet have occurred throughout the region.
Now Jessica Prato, 24, of Miami, Fla., described by her lawyer as a nursing student at Miami Dade College, and Chad Graham, 29, also of Miami, who turned up at the hotel later looking for Prato, are charged with conspiracy to violate the drug laws and trafficking in opiates.
Police Chief Paul Shastany said Thursday that police suspect they are part of a larger drug distribution network.
In Stoughton District Court on Friday afternoon, Assistant District Attorney Patricia Reilly alleged Prato was paid $500 to fly to Massachusetts to pick up packages mailed to her from Florida by Graham.
She allegedly would turn the packages over to him. Police alleged he would then distribute the pills in Massachusetts.
When confronted by police, Graham said he was a hip-hop artist and Prato was his manager, though Prato seemed confused about that, according to Reilly. Graham told police the package was supposed to contain microphones.
Police said they found a shipping receipt for the package in Graham’s pocket.
At their arraignments on Friday, District Court Judge Angel Kelley-Brown set bail at $10,000 cash for Prato and $50,000 cash for Brown and continued the cases to Nov. 30.
Graham has a conviction in Florida for armed robbery while masked, Reilly said, but Prato’s lawyer said she has no record.
Prato insisted she did not know what was in the packages she picked up for Graham. Her lawyer said she lives in Miami with her parents and younger sister. She has aunts and an uncle in Stoneham.
Prato stood before the judge with shackles around her ankles. On her feet were pink socks and flip flops. She cried quietly during the court proceeding.
November 7th, 2010
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