Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Joao BONICENHA (PWID D, Distribute D)

The following is a brief summary pertaining to Incident #18044624:

On Friday, July 27, 2018, I was working in the Somerville Police Drug Unit as Delta-18. At approximately 5:00 P.M., I was in the area of the Mystic Housing Development running routine surveillance as this area is well known for drug and weapon law violations. Within a few minutes, I observed a black Dodge Charger bearing Massachusetts registration xxxx. As the Charger turned towards the Central Convenient Store, I observed the operator, Mr. Joao Bonicenha. I would like to note Mr. Bonicenha is well known to me and other members of the Somerville Police Department from a prior firearm arrest. I have also received information from various sources that Mr. Bonicenha has been selling Marijuana for a long period of time. Mr. Bonicenha stopped the black Charger as I observed a Hispanic male, later identified as Mr. XXXX, walking to and entering the rear passenger door. At this time the vehicle went towards Memorial Road where it turned onto Temple Street. Due to Mr. Bonicenha history and information received, a rolling surveillance was conducted of this vehicle.

Detectives Costa, Legros, McNally, along with Sergeant Detectives Capasso and Rego, observed this vehicle as we could see it contained a male front passenger as well. This vehicle made several abrupt turns along their route as if they were attempting to see if they were being followed. For instance, the vehicle was in the far left lane on Broadway at the intersection of McGrath Highway facing eastbound. As the light turned green it made a fast abrupt right turn onto McGrath Highway towards Pearl Street. The black Charger had to cross five lanes of traffic in order to do this. In my training and experience, this is a maneuver is known as “cleaning themselves off.” This is an attempt for an individual to see if anyone following them does the same maneuver. The black Charger proceeded to drive to the corner of Gilman Street and Cross Street and pulled over. After a few minutes the vehicle began driving on Cross Street once again onto McGrath Highway and to the corner of Gilman Street and Jasper Street. The Charger pulled to the side as Detective Costa observed a young Hispanic male enter the driver’s side rear door. I would note that this Hispanic male will be known as IP from here on in. The Charger proceeded onto Walnut Street where it was stopped just a few feet from Edward Leather’s Park. While stopped, observations were made of movement coming from the operator and IP. As the green light turned, the vehicle went directly to the corner of Gilman Street and Aldrich Street. The Charger once again pulled over and IP exited. In my training and experience I believed IP and the operator of this vehicle to have just conducted a street level drug transaction known as a “meaningless ride.”

Mr. Bonicenha began to drive towards Cross Street as IP began walking in the same direction. At this time, Detective Costa, Legros, and I stopped IP to conduct a threshold inquiry. I asked Sergeants Capasso, Rego, and Detective McNally to stop the Charger for a threshold inquiry as well. I approached IP with my badge clearly displayed on my outermost garment. IP stated he knew why he was being stopped. I looked down and could see a clear glassine bag coming out of IP’s left cargo shorts pocket. I asked IP who they had just met up with. IP stated he met with his friend Joao. At this time, I read IP his rights pursuant to Miranda from a card I keep in my wallet. IP stated he understood his rights. I asked IP what he and Joao had just done. IP stated he had just purchased a sixty dollar bag of Marijuana from Joao Bonicenha. IP then showed me his cellular phone which contained text messages from “J” which were worded for a drug transaction. The text conversation included a story that Joao parked at the wrong corner of Gilman Street originally and then left and met IP on the opposite side. IP stated that he knows Joao from High School and had previously purchased Marijuana from him long ago. I was able to retrieve a phone number (xxxxxxxxxx) from IP for “J.” I confiscated the bag of Marijuana from IP and sent IP on his way. I dialed this number as Bonicenha’s phone was seized later and found it to be in fact his.

As IP was now on his way, Detectives Legros, Costa, and I went to where the black Charger was stopped. As I arrived, Sergeant Capasso stated that when he stopped the vehicle Bonicenha asked why he was being stopped. Sergeant Capasso stated that observations were made of him meeting with a male party. Bonicenha denied this ever happening. Sergeant Capasso then asked where he was going. Bonicenha stated he was on his way to fix his tires. Bonicenha stated once again that he never met with anyone along the way. At this time I had radioed to Sergeant Capasso that product was retrieved from IP and that he had purchased it for sixty dollars. Inside of the vehicle with Bonicenha were XXXX, front passenger, and XXXX. Mr. Bonicenha was placed in custody as a search of his vehicle was conducted. During this search a larger amount of Marijuana was observed in separate glassine baggies. I would like to note that the baggie confiscated from IP and the baggies found in the vehicle are the same exact baggies. Mr. XXXX had a large identical baggie on his person of Marijuana as well. All other baggies were located on Mr. Bonicenha himself or locked inside of his glove compartment box.

Mr. Bonicenha was transported to Somerville Police Headquarters via marked unit 200, Officer Desrochers, where he was booked in the usual manner by Lieutenant A. Rymill. Mr. Bonicenha’s Charger was towed via Pat’s Tow incident to arrest. Mr. Bonicenha’s monies were seized and will be subject to forfeiture proceedings. Please see Detective McNally’s supplemental report for all items seized/confiscated. I would note, during this incident Mr. XXXX took out his cellular phone and began recording officers using vulgar language and turning the phone to each individual officer on scene and stating, “Fuck you” to them. Mr. XXXX was warned several times to calm down as groups were starting to form to observe his behavior. XXXX continued his tirade and disparaging remarks as the mobile detention unit arrived. XXXX attempted multiple times to interfere with officers transporting Bonicenha to the station. XXXX was warned several times that he was being disorderly and to seize is actions. XXXX walked away once Bonicenha began transport to Somerville PD Headquarters. Mr. Bonicenha is being charged with Distribution of a Class D substance to IP, and Possession to distribute Class D, as he had multiple ounces of Marijuana.

Respectfully submitted,

Detective Fernando Cicerone #279

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