, Salem, MA

November 5, 2013

Police: Dealer could face charges in death


---- — SALEM — A suspected heroin dealer, who had no idea one of his customers had died last week of an apparent overdose when he showed up to sell him more drugs Friday night, could be facing manslaughter charges, police said.

Julio Prado-Reyes, 32, of Lynn was arraigned on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but police are looking into whether Prado-Reyes can be linked to the drugs that caused the death of a North Street man, Perfecto Cotto, last Wednesday.

Salem police Detective Thomas Brennan was reviewing the overdose victim’s phone and found several calls that day between Cotto and a man identified as “Moreno.”

On Friday, Patrolman Deni Gaito, who was working undercover and speaking Spanish, as the victim did, called the number listed for “Moreno” from the victim’s cellphone and, posing as the dead man, made arrangements to purchase more drugs.

“Moreno” reminded the man he thought was his customer to bring an extra $10 for the drugs he’d previously purchased, according to police.

The two eventually arranged to meet at a gas station on North Street. As Detective Kristian Hanson approached, his badge held up, it appeared that the suspect, later identified as Prado-Reyes, was trying to swallow something.

After a struggle with Hanson, fellow detectives Kevin St. Pierre and Dennis Gaudet, and Patrolman Thomas Pelletier, Prado-Reyes was arrested.

Prado-Reyes had been driven to Salem by his girlfriend, along with two young children, ages 2 and 7. Police filed a report with the Department of Children and Families.

Salem District Court Judge Matthew Nestor ordered Prado-Reyes held on $10,000 cash.

He is due back in court Nov. 4.

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