“For me to comment without me seeing the paperwork and without knowing the facts wouldn’t be wise,” said retired Salem police Chief and Licensing Board Chairman Robert St. Pierre in a brief phone interview. “If it’s brought before the board, which I imagine it would be, we will give it the attention it deserves.”
In its affidavit, state police said Trooper Steven Racki of the Essex County Detective Unit and Special Agent Jack Kelter met with a confidential informant named Kenny on Aug. 1, who then arranged to purchase oxycodone pills allegedly from Franco at Bangkok Paradise. Salem police assisted with surveillance. After police searched him to make sure he was free of drugs and money, Kenny was given $3,150 and placed a call to Franco, who did not answer. Several minutes later, Franco returned Kenny’s call and they arranged to meet in the restaurant around 3:45 p.m. Less than a half hour later, Kenny met with officers at a predetermined location and turned over 150 oxycodone pills he said he bought from Franco.
Less than a week later, Kenny allegedly bought 200 pills worth $4,200 from Franco at the restaurant in the early afternoon. Police witnessed Franco arrive at the restaurant after Kenny, who told police Franco retrieved the plastic bag of pills from a closet in the basement.
Kenny plans to testify, but for now, his identity is being kept secret.
Barry noted that the alleged drug buy was made in a restaurant which was open to the public, and neither sale was witnessed directly by police.
After the court hearing, Barry said that the lack of ties among defendants was troubling and appeared to frame Franco in a negative light.
“It makes it a lot worse if they make it look like an enterprise,” Barry said, adding, “It seems to be there was no reason to bring them together except the state police had a warrant sting on today.”