Real Life Somerville Police Stories


Mendes arrest

The following is a brief summary pertaining to Incident #13042654:
On Thursday, November 14, 2013, I was working in marked unit East-1. At approximately 12:50 P.M. I was traveling east on Mystic Avenue towards Temple Street. As I turned right onto Temple Street I noticed a dark colored Volkswagon bearing Massachusetts registration . As I drove past this vehicle I randomly queried this registration via my cruiser laptop. I looked into the window of the vehicle and saw three males inside. The operator was known to me as Mr. Robert Lara. I had just encountered Mr. Lara less than a month ago in the passenger side of a red Ford Explorer. As I continued driving up Temple Street the results of my registration query returned and revealed that the plates belonged to a red Ford Explorer. The vehicle was registered to a . I remembered that it was who I had previously stopped on October 22, 2013 with Mr. Lara sitting in the passenger side of the Explorer and two other people seated in the back. I turned my cruiser around in an attempt to stop the Volkswagon. As I could now see the Volkswagon traveling along Mystic Avenue, I turned on my emergency blue lights and siren and subsequently stopped the Volkswagon on Mystic Avenue near Shore Drive, all public ways in the city of Somerville. I would note it took several seconds for the vehicle to pull over after my initial attempt to stop the Volkswagon.

As I walked up to the Volkswagon I could smell an intense smell of fresh marijuana. I walked up to the operator, Mr. Lara, and asked for his license and registration. Mr. Lara handed me his license and stated he did not have the registration but had a title for the vehicle. Mr. Lara handed me the title and I matched the VIN to what was on the vehicle. I asked the passenger, later identified as Mr. Ronnie Mendes, and the rear seat passenger, Mr. Ricardo Mendes for some identification as neither were wearing their seat belts. At this time, marked unit East-4, Officer Capasso, arrived on scene as backup. Officer Capasso quickly walked up to the vehicle and turned to me and stated that he smelled a strong scent of fresh marijuana in the vehicle. I explained to Officer Capasso that I had the same reaction he did.

Officer Capasso waited near the Volkswagon as I returned to my cruiser in order to query the VIN and the occupants of the vehicle. As I started my query I could see Officer Capasso pointing inside the motor vehicle. Officer Capasso then asked Mr. Lara to shut the vehicle off and give him the keys. Officer Capasso placed the keys on top of the vehicle and reached into the vehicle. Officer Capasso retrieved a small wooden baseball bat that Ricardo Mendes attempted to hide under his body inside the vehicle. Officer Capasso stated he saw Ricardo Mendes moving something while seated and that it appeared his pants were undone. Ricardo Mendes stated he was trying to put the bat out of the way. As Officer Capasso took control of the bat he secured it out of the reach of the three occupants.

I queried the VIN via my cruiser laptop and found the vehicle to be unregistered to a Volkswagon GTI. I was also able to query Mr. Lara for a license status and found out that his license was suspended. At this time, I radioed to street supervisor, Sergeant DiGregorio, and was granted permission to tow the unregistered Volkswagon. During a query of both Ricardo and Ronnie Mendes I found that Ricardo Mendes had an active warrant for his arrest for intimidation of a witness, juror, police, or court official. I explained my findings to Officer Capasso and informed him I would be placing Mr. Lara and Ricardo Mendes under arrest.

At this time, I explained to Mr. Lara that his license was suspended to which he acknowledged already knowing. I placed Mr. Lara into custody. Officer Capasso asked Mr. Lara if he had anything on his person such as a weapon or drugs. We informed Mr. Lara that the Somerville Police does an inventory on each person arrested. Mr. Lara opened his pants and stated he had some marijuana down his pants. Mr. Lara stated he had two bags and that he would retrieve them. Please see Officer Capasso’s supplemental report for further information.

As Mr. Lara was seated on the sidewalk, I noticed Ricardo and Ronnie Mendes appeared to be moving inside the vehicle. I went into the driver’s side of the vehicle and asked what both males were doing? Neither male said anything. I asked both males if either of them had a weapon on their person.? Ronnie Mendes stated he had a knife in his front left pocket. Ronnie Mendes reached for the knife until I asked him not to touch the knife. He continued toward the knife and I grabbed a hold of his hand for officer safety purposes and retrieved a blue pocket knife from his pants pocket. As I tried to open the knife it sprung open and I found it was actually a switch blade knife. I walked over to the passenger side of the vehicle, and asked Ronnie Mendes to exit the car. As he did, I placed Ronnie Mendes under arrest for carrying a dangerous weapon. I would like to note that as Ronnie stepped out of the motor vehicle the strong odor of fresh marijuana became stronger. I asked Ronnie Mendes if he had anything else on him. Ronnie stated, “I have some weed.” Ronnie attempted to swing his arms into his pants and reach into his groin area. Ronnie stated that the marijuana was inside his pants. Ronnie then retrieved a clear plastic baggy containing 28 other clear, individual plastic baggies. Each of these small plastic baggies contained a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. I would like to note that due to my training and experience, I believe this marijuana to be packaged for distribution and not for personal use. Ronnie Mendes was seated next to Mr. Lara on the sidewalk at this time.

Finally, I asked Ricardo Mendes to step out of the vehicle. I explained to Ricardo that there was an active warrant for his arrest. Ricardo was placed into custody without incident. While the three males were sitting next to one another I read them their Miranda warnings from a card I keep in my uniform pocket. Each male, one by one, stated that they understood their rights. While speaking to Ronnie Mendes, I asked him how long he had the marijuana. Ronnie replied that he had just got it. I then asked Ronnie why he had that much on him. Ronnie stated, “I needed to make some extra money so I figured this would help.”

The three males were transported to Somerville Police Headquarters via marked unit 200, Officer Gardner, where they were booked into the usual manner by Lieutenant A. Rymill. All drugs and weapons will be placed into evidence by Detective McNally and will be available upon request. Please refer to Detective McNally’s report for a descriptive report of any and all seized evidence. Each occupant of the motor vehicle received a Massachusetts Uniform Citation for their offenses. The Volkswagon was towed via Pat’s Tow and the plates were turned into the registry of motor vehicle. Please see any and all supplemental reports for this incident


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