Six people — three from the same Vineyard Haven family — were arrested on felony drug charges earlier this week following one of the largest heroin busts in Island history.
Members of the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task force executed a search warrant at the Garde home on Spring street in Vineyard Haven just after 6 p.m. Tuesday and seized nearly $70,000 in heroin, cash and other drugs. Officers arrested three members of the Garde family and three other suspects for alledgedly running a drug operation out of the home.
Arrested were Caleb Garde, 24, Hannah Garde, 22, Daniel Garde, 19, Garret Gibson, 24, Alexander Carlson, 21 and Rosaline Gaspar, 24.
The Tuesday drug bust set the stage for a chaotic and bizarre scene the next morning at the Edgartown courthouse when two members of the Garde family facing drug charges — Caleb and Daniel — suddenly collapsed and were transported by ambulance to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
Reports indicated the two young men may have been suffering from drug withdrawal.
A third member of the Garde family, Ken Garde, the father, also collapsed in the courtroom and was transported by ambulance to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Mr. Garde was in court to witness the arraignment three of his children. It is understood that Mr. Garde was flown to a Boston hospital yesterday for further treatment; privacy laws prevent the hospital from releasing such information.
Meanwhile on Wednesday when the courtroom fracas erupted, emergency medical technicians and police officers from Edgartown and Oak Bluffs funneled through the narrow back staircase to the second-floor courtroom. As court officers cleared the courtroom, dispatchers at the Island emergency communication center called for additional ambulances to respond to the scene.
A woman confronted a newspaper photographer and demanded he stop taking pictures, while several court observers — some who had been called in for jury duty that day — huddled outside in the cold or found seats on a bench in the rear hallway of the courthouse.
One woman was downstairs in the courthouse when the bedlam broke out.
“I couldn’t tell what was happening . . . I thought there might have been a fight,” she said.
Despite the confusion, all six defendants were arraigned and entered pleas of not guilty. Caleb and Daniel Garde were treated and released from the hospital. As of yesterday, all four male defendants were still being held in the Edgartown house of correction, while the two female defendants were taken to the Barnstable County Jail.
The arrests that preceded the scene at the courthouse came after a nearly year-long investigation conducted by the Martha’s Vineyard Drug Task Force, state police Sgt. Jeff Stone said yesterday.
Sergeant Stone said officers from all six Island towns and a K-9 officer and his dog from off-Island executed the search warrant at the Garde home around 6:05 p.m. Tuesday.
Police reportedly found Caleb Garde cutting heroin into small quantities at the time of the bust, and also found scales and more then $40,000 in cash. Caleb Garde was charged with possession of heroin over 100 grams with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, and dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or child center.
The Garde home is located near the Tisbury School and a child day care center, Sergeant Stone said.
Caleb Garde was held on $50,000 bail.
Daniel Garde was in a separate bedroom when officers arrived and was found in possession of approximately 18 grams of marijuana and over $500 in cash. He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of prescription drugs, possession of heroin and dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or child center.
He was ordered held on $6,000 bail.
Hannah Garde was charged with intent to distribute heroin, conspiracy to violate drug laws and dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or child center. She was found in possession of a scale, plastic bags and a small amount of heroin, police said. She was ordered held on $12,000 bail.
Garrett Gibson of Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs, was charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or child center. He was ordered held on $15,000 bail.
Alexander Carlson of Swan’s Neck Lane, Edgartown, was charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or child center. He was ordered held on $6,000 bail.
Rosline Gaspar, who police believe is Caleb Garde’s girlfriend, was arriving at the Garde home in her car at the time of the bust; she reportedly fled the scene at high speed and was later apprehended about two blocks away, Sergeant Stone said.
She was charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws and dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or child center.
Sergeant Stone said Ms. Gaspar may have thrown several bags of heroin out the car window before her arrest. A police detail working along Pine Tree Lane found three small bags of heroin early Friday morning, not far from the Tisbury School playground, he said.
In total, 133 grams of heroin were seized in the raid with a street value of between $25,000 and $33,000.
“I would say it’s one of the largest heroin busts I can recall on Martha’s Vineyard,” said Sergeant Stone, who has been involved with the drug task for many years.
He said police first learned of the drug operation after receiving calls from a number of relatives of people taking heroin that they allegedly purchased from the defendants.