SALEM — A Salem District Court judge on Tuesday sharply increased the bail of a Lynn man who was deported before he could stand trial on charges that he ran a drug ring in Salem back in 2016.
Judge Roanne Sragow hiked the bail for Jose Arias-Arias from $7,500 to $100,000, despite pleas from Arias-Arias's attorney that he intends to "fight tooth and nail to remain in this country" by pursuing an asylum claim.
Arias-Arias, now 29, was originally charged with conspiracy and possession of heroin with intent to distribute back in October 2016 following an investigation by Salem police that also led to the arrests of four other men.
Police at the time said Arias-Arias, known on the street as "Oche," was the ringleader of the group, which was operating in the city at the height of the opiate overdose epidemic.
Four people died in Salem as a result of overdoses in September 2016.
Arias-Arias was eventually released on $7,500 bail, and was then immediately taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, then deported to the Dominican Republic.
Officials say he returned to the United States, however, and was arrested in Lynn last spring on new drug charges. Those charges, however, were later dropped by prosecutors.
Then, during an appearance in Salem District Court on the still-pending 2016 case, prosecutors requested an increase in Arias-Arias's bail to $100,000.
Prosecutor Michael Varone pointed to Arias-Arias's ties outside the country and his illegal re-entry.
Arias-Arias's lawyer, Meredith Reeves, acknowledged that an increase in bail was likely but said his default in the earlier case was not his fault because he was deported.
She suggested a bail of no more than $10,000.
Reeves suggested that her client's role was not as the ringleader, and questioned how reliable an identification by the undercover officer would be three years after the alleged transaction.
She also said her client intends to fight the charges so that he can pursue an asylum claim based on what the lawyer said were severe threats against him and his family.
"The last thing he wants to do is to have a warrant that would interfere with the asylum process," said Reeves.
Sragow, however, granted the prosecutor's request to set bail at $100,000.
A further hearing is scheduled for Aug. 13.
All four of his co-defendants in the 2016 case have resolved their charges.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.