, Salem, MA

February 12, 2014

Man faces drug charges after woman found dead


---- — SALEM — A Salem man is facing a string of drug charges after a woman was found dead in his apartment early Monday morning, and police are continuing to investigate whether those drugs played a role in a possible overdose.

During his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court, Shwan Kareem, 32, of 17R Boston St., pleaded not guilty to charges of possession with intent to distribute morphine, Suboxone, Clonodine, Gabapentin and methadone. He was released on the same $300 bail he posted shortly after his arrest Monday.

Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said that police are continuing to investigate the death of the 28-year-old woman and are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Police also found a small amount of heroin on a table beside the bed where the woman died, according to a police report.

Kareem told police that the woman had shown up uninvited at his apartment Sunday evening. He told police that she pulled a bag of crack from her bra, and the two of them smoked some and watched television, then fell asleep.

Kareem said the woman made several trips to the bathroom during the night before falling asleep. Around 2 a.m., he noticed she was snoring “loud for a girl,” he said, and he woke her up to recommend she see a doctor. He said he went out for a cigarette, and when he returned, she was asleep. The following morning, he was unable to wake her and called 911.

She was pronounced dead at Salem Hospital.

Questioned about the number of pill bottles with labels ripped off them that were seen in his apartment, Kareem said they were prescriptions for his mother, who has Alzheimer’s and lives in the apartment upstairs.

Police checked with another relative, however, and learned that Kareem’s mother was no longer on any medication and hadn’t been for two years. The pills were wrapped in plastic bags inside the pill bottles, suggesting they were packaged to be sold, police said.

Police also found a makeshift crack pipe in the trash just outside Kareem’s apartment; he said he’d moved the barrel out of the way of emergency workers responding to his 911 call.

A status hearing in the case is scheduled for March 26.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.