SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 15, 2012

Indictments possible in restaurant pill case

BY JULIE MANGANIS STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — SALEM — A Salem restaurant owner charged with selling 350 oxycodone pills worth more than $7,000 to an undercover informant last August made a brief appearance yesterday in Salem District Court.

Jesus Franco, 42, of 34 Perkins St., Salem, the owner of downtown eatery Bangkok Paradise, also lost his restaurant’s liquor license over the allegations. Police say Franco sold the pills in two batches, one on Aug. 1 and the other on Aug. 7, both times inside the business.

Outside court, he said he still does not know whether he will try to reopen the Washington Street Thai restaurant without the alcohol license.

During a hearing before Salem District Court Judge Michael Lauranzano, prosecutors said the drug case has now been assigned to a Superior Court prosecutor, indicating that the district attorney’s office is considering seeking an indictment.

An indictment would move the case to Superior Court, where Franco could face state prison time.

Franco’s lawyer, Mark Barry, agreed to schedule another probable cause hearing, for Dec. 14, which would take place only if Franco is not indicted by then.