Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Michael AZUOLA (PWID B, PWID C, Poss Unlawful Fireworks)

On May 6, 2018, while assigned to marked unit East-4, I was dispatched to the area of Dartmouth St and Evergreen Ave for reports of a white male, walking down street, yelling. East-1 (Officer Schneider), was dispatched as backup. Upon our arrival we observed a male matching the description given to dispatch walking down Thurston Street towards Evergreen. The party was later identified as XXXX. XXXX was loudly yelling profanities about getting into an argument with his girlfriend over politics. Officer Schneider and I attempted several times to calm Mr. XXXX to no avail. Cataldo was requested for an evaluation and was dispatched. At this time East-2 (Officer Monaco), arrived on scene to assist. Mr. XXXX at this point was belligerent and combative. From my training and experience I believed Mr. XXXX to be under the influence of Alcohol at the very least and potentially some other substance. Officer Schneider was attempting to determine the substance Mr. XXXX was on. Officer Schneider is a certified Drug Recognition Expert and was asking Mr. XXXX questions regarding his actions. Mr. XXXX escalated to threatening the Cataldo Personnel that arrived on scene and was swinging his arms in a combative manner. He was making comments that would lead us to believe he would soon become assaultive. Mr. XXXX needed to be restrained with handcuffs (DL) and shackles to be put into the ambulance. Mr. XXXX was transported to Somerville Hospital. A passerby came up to us prior to Mr. XXXX being transported and explained that they had seen Mr. XXXX with another party get out of a car and that there was a dog locked in the car. Due to Mr. XXXX’s condition I followed the Ambulance to the Somerville Hospital. Officer Schneider stayed on scene to attempt to find the operator of the vehicle with the dog. PA registration xxxx was queried and came back to xxxx Rental. At that time no one was able to locate the potential driver of the motor vehicle.

After Mr. XXXX was situated at the hospital I returned to the area of Dartmouth and Evergreen, where the vehicle was located. The occupants of xx Dartmouth had given a description of the male operator of the vehicle as wearing dark baggy pants, a dark t-shirt, and having dark hair. Officer Schneider located a male party, who matched the description walking past the vehicle. I caught up to this party and asked if the vehicle was his, as we were concerned for the wellbeing of the animal. The party was later identified as Michael Azuola. Mr. Azuola stated that he was with Mr. XXXX earlier in the morning but Mr. XXXX “Freaked out” so he left him. He said his keys were at his friend’s house and he would go get them to let the dog out. Mr. Azuola retrieved the dog and walked up Dartmouth Street to number xx Dartmouth with the dog. After Mr. Azuola left Officer Schneider and I could see through the window of the vehicle, a set of bottle rockets and what appeared to be several gas canisters of some sort. I would like to note that all of these items were in plain view. We attempted to locate Mr. Azuola at this time to speak to him about it, but he had already gone inside the house and Officer Schneider and I were dispatched to another call.

After clearing the other call, Officer Schneider was in the area of Dartmouth Street and saw Mr. Azuola standing by the car and notified me that he was going to stop him to talk to him. He then notified me that he had Mr. Azuola stopped. I responded to that location and informed dispatch. It was at this time I informed Mr. Azuola that we would be confiscating the fireworks and requested that he retrieve the bottle rockets for us. Mr. Azuola walked us to the vehicle, opened the rear passenger side door to the vehicle and retrieved what was in plain view and a pack of fire crackers. He then shifted some things around as it looked like he was hiding something. At this time Officer Schneider asked Mr. Azuola why he was transporting gas canisters around. He stated that he worked events and used the carbon dioxide for beer kegs. We asked if he had any special permits to be transporting these cans and he said “no”. At this time, Lieutenant Sheehan arrived on scene. I informed Mr. Azuola that we would need all the fireworks and that we would be searching his vehicle for more. He at first attempted to argue but it was explained that we would be searching the vehicle. He unlocked the car and stood with the lieutenant. I opened the rear driver’s side door and pulled a backpack out of the vehicle. In the backpack was a large gas canister. When moving the bag out of the way, Officer Schneider opened a zippered bag and found what, based on my training and experience was Psilocybin mushrooms. At this time I read Mr. Azoula his rights from a card I keep on my person, Mr. Azoula was also placed in handcuffs and informed he was under arrest. He indicated that he understood his rights and agreed to talk to me. I explained to Mr. Azoula what we had already found in the vehicle and asked if he would tell us if there would be anything else that we may find. He did not answer me

Due to the location we were at, we had the vehicle towed to the station to continue searching the vehicle. Officer Schneider followed the vehicle to the rear lot of the station where it was put in the back lot and the canisters were inspected by the Somerville Fire Department. Fire cleared the tanks to be safe to remove, and we continued our search of the vehicle after all the tanks were removed and placed to the side. The vehicle was loaded up with various items including a camp stove, sleeping bags, attachments for the tanks, food items, and several bags and backpacks. I came across a black backpack, inside the back pack I found a clear zip lock bag with what appeared to be a brick inside. Upon closer examination it was a thick sticky substance with a pungent odor of Marijuana. Based on my training and experience I believed this to be THC concentrate, commonly known as Hashish. Officer Schneider found several other items in the same backpack which will be in his supplemental report. In a continued search I found 2 bags that were labeled as popcorn located in a reusable shopping bag. One was wide open and the other was heat sealed with a small tear. Upon viewing the bag which was open I observed more of what I believed to be mushrooms, the small tear in the other bag revealed the same substance. Inside the shopping bag was a box of Ziploc bags. Based on My training and experience, the amount of substances found, along with the packaging, these items are consistent with someone with the intent to distribute them. Several other sets of bottle rockets were found in various locations in the vehicle.

The Gas tank

For specific quantities and locations of the substances, please refer to Detective Costa’s supplemental report.

For additional information please refer to Officer Schneider’s report.

Mr. Azuola was charged with one count of possession of fireworks, two counts of possession to distribute class B, and two counts of possession to distribute class C

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Christopher Fusco #328

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