SALEM — An accused heroin dealer known on the streets as "Oche," deported before he could stand trial in a 2016 Salem heroin distribution case, was arrested in Lynn last month on heroin and cocaine trafficking charges.
And what happened with Jose Arias-Arias is not a new issue.
More than a decade ago, in 2008, The Salem News reported on an increasing number of defendants who were posting high cash bails in their cases, knowing that they would be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation, rather than risk a potential minimum mandatory prison term if convicted.
Because their failure to return to court for trial was due to a governmental action — deportation — the bail that had been posted on their behalf would then be returned to the person who posted it.
That's what allegedly happened with Arias-Arias.
In March, 2017, a woman named Ana Arias walked into Salem District Court and asked that the $7,500 bail she had posted for Arias-Arias be returned to her, one week after he was deported to the Dominican Republic.
Salem court officials returned her money. A default warrant remained in place for Arias-Arias.
Arias-Arias was charged following a lengthy investigation by Salem police detectives in the summer and fall of 2016.
That September, a month in which four people died of heroin overdoses in Salem, police learned from three separate informants that a man known as "Oche" — allegedly Arias-Arias — was the "boss" of a group of "runners" who were delivering heroin to customers.
For more than a month, Salem and Marblehead police worked on the case, making seven undercover purchases of heroin, and then got a warrant.
Arias-Arias was charged with heroin distribution and conspiracy, and initially held on $25,000 bail following his arraignment in Salem District Court in October, 2016.
Two months later, it was reduced by a Superior Court judge to $7,500. On Jan. 10, 2017, the bail was posted, with a notation: "Bailed to ICE detainer."
Twenty days later, when Arias-Arias' case was back on the docket in Salem District Court, he was in ICE custody. A warrant for his arrest was issued.
He was deported to the Dominican Republic on March 21, 2017, according to court papers.
Then, last month, Lynn police spotted Arias-Arias engaging in what they believed to be a drug transaction in that city, the Lynn Daily Item reported.
He was arrested after a brief pursuit and police found that he was carrying a cup containing 107 grams (just under four ounces) of heroin, worth more than $13,000, Lynn police told the Daily Item. Police found another 30 grams (just over an ounce) of cocaine at his apartment, the newspaper reported.
It's not known when Arias-Arias returned to the United States.
Court papers show that he was ordered held on $75,000 bail in that Lynn case.
In addition, Lynn District Court Judge Ina Howard-Hogan, who learned of the Salem warrant, revoked Arias-Arias' bail in the 2 1/2-year-old Salem case.
Arias-Arias was back in a Salem courtroom on Friday, after his attorney filed paperwork requesting a "speedy trial" in the 2016 case.
A pretrial hearing was scheduled for June 11 and he will remain in custody at least until then, a judge ordered.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.