SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 24, 2013

Police: Ipswich man running drug 'enterprise'

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — IPSWICH — Police say a 28-year-old Ipswich man has been running a “protracted and continuous drug enterprise” from his Brown Street apartment, according to court documents.

Richard Sotiropoulos, of 18 Brown St., Apt. 3, was arrested after a search warrant was executed around 6 a.m. Saturday on charges of possessing heroin, oxycodone and clonazepam with intent to distribute. He was also charged with possession of cocaine.

He was arraigned yesterday in Ipswich District Court in Newburyport and released on personal recognizance. He was given a 60-day bail warning.

The investigation into Sotiropoulos spanned several months, police said.

Sotiropoulos did not answer the door when the search warrant was executed but was found inside after a forced entry, police said. He was given his Miranda rights by Patrolman David Moore.

“Sotiropoulos stated that ‘what you’re looking for is in the green box next to the couch,’” the police report said.

Detective Ted Gallivan, who led the investigation, found multiple pill bottles inside the box, including what was believed to be heroin, cocaine, 12 oxycodone pills and 24 clonazepam pills. A bag of marijuana was found on the table next to the couch, according to the police report.

Sotiropoulos also informed police that there was a safe with his mother’s ashes, heroin and money, the report stated.

Police also found next to the couch, a digital scale, four cellphones and a box of sandwich bags, believed to have been used in the drug deals in the apartment. A notebook with writing consistent with records of drug transactions was also found, according to the report.

Police said Sotiropoulos admitted he was selling drugs from his apartment and told investigators he had hired a “runner,” who would travel to Lynn on a daily basis to purchase cocaine, heroin and oxycodone for him.

“The runner was paid with heroin, and Sotiropoulos would use or sell the rest,” the report read. “Sotiropoulos admitted that he had a 5-gram-a-day heroin habit.”

Police said that they received numerous neighbor complaints and anonymous tips during the investigation.

The investigation included the help of the Cape Ann Regional Response Team and the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services.

Sotiropoulos is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing Sept. 12.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.