By Joe McCain (Somerville Police Lt. Ret.)

On June 14, 2003, I was standing over the dead body of Carlos DeMedeiros. He was still warm. As a police sergeant, it was a familiar scene. Too familiar. Since the early 1990s it was one I witnessed too frequently and it was taking a toll on me.

My cell phone rang. On the other end was high school resource officer Alex Capobianco. Chief of Police George McLean at the beginning of the school year in 2002 had appointed him to his position. The kids called him “Officer Oscar, Officer Beans or Officer Noddie,” because he frequently nodded off at basketball games and school events.

“Hey Sarge,” said Capobianco, “are you at the DeMedeiros scene?”

“I am, what’s up?” I replied.

“He’s wearing a Rolex and he’s got a couple of grand in his pocket. Can you get them for me? He was holding it. I owed him some money,” Alex asked.

My explicative-laced reply is not appropriate here. Suffice it to say, I replied, “Are you out of your mind? You want me to strip the watch and the cash off of a dead kid at a crime scene?” I hung up the phone.

Returning to the station with a cell phone belonging to Carlos that was found at the scene, I knocked at Captain Dan Matthew’s office. Through the thick oak door I could hear him summon me. “Come in.”

Captain Matthews was in charge of the detective bureau. He was a consummate gentleman. I grew up playing hockey with his sons, knew him well and respected him greatly. He was one of the good guys. He looked out for me. Having already heard the recorded conversation, I approached his desk and handed him the phone. The recording was cued up. I told him to press play. He looked over his glasses and listened as DeMedeiros said “Alex, do you need any?” When he heard Alex’s reply: “I, I, ya, I have like 600 of em’ sold, but can’t get nobody,” Captain Matthews asked, “Is that Capobianco?”

“Yes, sir. It is,” I replied.

Captain Matthews had a full head of white hair. He shook it side to side and then tuned in with more intent as Carlos continued.


“No, eight[ies],” replied Capobianco. The number was a reference to the milligram content of each pill.

“How many Al?” asked DeMedeiros.

“Six-hundred of em’, I, I sold about six-hundred of them, but I can’t, I can’t do anything, ahh, no one has anything. I was wondering if you knew who did have some. So I don’t know what to do, no one has them,” said the high school resource officer.

“Ya, no one has any, not now anyway,” replied DeMedeiros..

Captain Matthews lowered the phone from his ear.

“Good luck,” I said, backing away from his desk and hopefully the whole situation. I closed the door behind me. He appeared to be well aware, as I was, that Joe Curtatone had just won the primary election and would soon be sworn in as Mayor of the City of Somerville.

As soon as resource officer Capobianco reached the halls and classrooms of Somerville High School in 2002, he began providing members of the narcotics unit with information regarding drug dealers operating in the city. It wasn’t long before these officers realized that Officer Capobianco was feeding them his competition.

That same school year, in June, DeMedeiros died. Three months later Curtatone, Capobianco’s first cousin, defeated Dorothy Kelly Gay and subsequently went on to win the general election in November.

The Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and the Attorney General’s Criminal Division respectively agreed to a request from the city of Somerville and granted Capobianco transactional immunity on September 24,th and September 30, according to the state civil service commission. By granting transactional immunity to Capobianco the city government of Somerville was enabled to control the investigation internally. Immunity also afforded Capobianco the ability to avoid criminal prosecution were further illegal activities on his part discovered.

Is it a coincidence that the office of the Middlesex County District Attorney and the Attorney General at would grant Capobianco immunity in the same month his first cousin won the mayoral election?

It has been suggested by several of my former colleagues, that the district attorney and attorney general granted Capobianco immunity, enabling him to avoid criminal prosecution, because he was feeding “bigger fish” to the prosecutors. But who is a bigger fish than a drug-dealing cop?

What now Mayor Curtatone didn’t count on was that Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay would fire Capobianco. The state civil service commission in a decision handed down in 2005 found that Capobianco’s firing was “tainted by the influences of political considerations and retribution.”

In his May 19 decision, Civil Service Commissioner John Taylor found that Capobiano’s firing “raises concerns of a politically motivated decision.”

If anything, it was a politically motivated decision, concluded Taylor, who criticized Mayor Gay’s credibility as ”…low, based on her demeanor at the Commissions hearing.”

Taylor said Capobianco’s “credibility is high based on his demeanor and candor.”

To write that the former mayor’s credibility was less than that of a drug dealing cop is the height of preposterousness. Mayor Gay didn’t fire Alex because he was Joe’s first cousin or because he worked for Joe’s campaign; she fired him because he was a drug dealer.


On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, Mayor Curtatone and the City of Somerville filed a lawsuit against several major pharmaceutical companies. They laid blame for the opioid crisis that has hit our city squarely at their feet.

“Through our investigation, we have evidence that these opioid manufacturers and distributors created the extraordinary crisis we are experiencing in Somerville, our claims include their scheme to fuel the market by pumping opioids into our city and, as a result, creating a public health crisis that we must both address now and prevent for future generations,” the city solicitor, Frank Wright, said in a news release.

The mayor is 16 years too late. In 2003, an investigation provided him with clear evidence Capobianco was dealing drugs. He chose to ignore that evidence. Now he attempts to close the barn door. Long ago the horse ran out.

Curtatone had an opportunity to stem a portion of the opioids flooding into the city by telling his first cousin not to file an appeal. Last week, when he pointed his finger outward, he should have instead been taking responsibility.

He could have prevented Capobianco from returning to the police force, but he did not. Capobianco was a pariah. His presence was an insult to every honest cop who ever wore a badge. Instead Curtatone was an enabler. He chose to use his authority to help a filthy cop dirty a whole city.

Capobianco was back on the job for 12 years. Did Curtatone care more for the job security of a family member, than for the safety and security of the children of this city?

Late one evening last week, over a second cup of Barry’s Irish Tea at a dining room table in a Somerville home, a mother shared her story with me. She told me what it was like living with a drug-addicted teenage boy. Her son went to Somerville High School in 2002, and knew Alex well. She knew Alex well. She said her son told her about what was going on at the high school and what their resource officer was up to. He had shared with his mother the nicknames fellow students had for Officer Capobianco. He had shared with his mother how during the prom Capobianco drooled and repeatedly nodded off. The mother told me how her boy asked the police officer what was wrong, and how Capobianco replied that he was just tired. But the teenage boy knew differently, his mother told me. It was no secret what Alex was doing and why no one did anything about it. To this day it provokes her ire. “He was supposed to protect our kids,” she said, her eyes watering up.

I listened. She described hell in real time. Every day she expected to find her son dead in his bedroom, as do so many other Somerville moms, dads, sisters and brothers.

Tears do not come easily to this battle-hardened veteran of the ravages of drug addiction. She is still angry. After all these years she was a lucky one. Her son survived, probably only because she checked on him every single day: she repeatedly went in his bedroom to make sure he was still breathing, she said. It was a common scene in the homes of her friends, who also had drug addicted sons. It was heart breaking.

I have three sons. They are now all grown men, but they have all have lost friends to this disease. I joined her and wept at her table. Then, she consoled me. She said that the young boys who became addicts in the early 2000’s, — the ones who didn’t die, who struggle to this day with addiction and steady employment — still can’t find good jobs because of drug related arrests.

She got up from the table and went into another room. When she returned, she held a stack of plastic prayer cards in her hands. Spreading them before me on the cloth dining room table cover with the ease of a black jack dealer it was clear to me that she had done this before.

The faces were of youths, some young, some in their mid-30’s. All of whom brought into clear focus the reality of what happened here in Somerville and what is still happening all around us to this day. She blames Alex Capobianco, she said. She blames Mayor Joe Curtatone.

“I watched a whole generation of young boys from Somerville die. P.J. Pefine just died. He went to school with my son. He was 33. Its a disgrace that Alex got his job back. It’s a disgrace that he was given back pay for the two years he was out. It’s a disgrace that the city awarded him a 72% disability pension while there are parents still struggling with the loss of their sons. He got his job back and back pay while mothers and fathers were trying to find the money to bury their children,” She said.

I put on my jacket. She pushed herself up from her chair, swiped the her hair from her face and walked over to me. We hugged. I turned and walked down the carpeted stairs to the front porch. Photographs of her family lined the walls of the staircase. She’s proud of each and every one of them and she should be.

As I mounted my motorcycle, I could see from the corner of my eye that she was picking up all the small pieces of litter from the street and the sidewalk in front of her home. Another proud, old school, Somerville mom. She told me I was crazy for riding my bike in this weather. I smiled and told her I would call her later in the week. I’m not sure she knows how much I respect her.

Lt. Joe McCain retired from the Somerville Police Department on his 26th anniversary on September 11, 2015. He was born and raised in Somerville. He graduated from Somerville High School where he was a trumpet player and Captain of the varsity hockey team. He is the father of 3 sons who were raised in the city. He is a former Marine. Lt. McCain has a Master’s degree in History from U Mass Boston and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College. He, like his father, was the recipient of the George L. Hannah Memorial Award for Bravery; it is highest award for bravery given to police officers by the Governor’s office and it is the first and only time a father and son have been awarded this medal. He is the currently the Vice-President on the board of directors of Elevate Youth, a youth mentoring program in Somerville that focuses on getting inner-city kids out in the wilderness.



  2. I remember this whole story. Disgust to this day!! The city is now suing the big pharma companies?!?!? Funny….because they are just as guilty. The Mayor had his hand in a lot of it. He makes me sick to this day him and his family. People were dying left and right back then and nobody cared especially the City of Somerville.

  3. A former director of a local college attempted to contact the Federal Marshall, due to the mayor blocking urgent transport of utility installation to a local college. The mayor said he had to pay $80k to businesses and put detail on the streets which was BS! The college director told him to screw! The transport was held up several days.

  4. The entire Curtatone/Capobianco family consists of crooks & criminals.

    In 2015, I pulled nomination papers for Mayor. In June of that year, having all of the required number of signatures, Cosmo Curtatone walks into the Cambridge Street Dunkin’ Donuts in Charlestown… while I’m using the facilities and my campaign manager is ordering an iced coffee, and Cosmo steals most of our papers.

    This year, if I do pull papers for Councillor at Large, I’m going to purchase a thick briefcase w/ lock & key, and carry it anywhere & everyone I go.

    1. Despite having most of our papers stolen by Cosmo Curtatone; my campaign manager, big Moose, along with myself; decided to continue on as a write-in candidate… receiving a total of 365 write-in votes. Basically, just to send a message that we were’t going to allow another criminal Curtatone to thwart our endeavors.

      Even though it may be too late to file charges (for all I know) but, fortunately, I now have a copy of Curtatone’s theft from the coffee shop’s surveillance camera system… burned onto DVD-R.

  5. Leave politics where it needs to be left, leave Alex’s most recent arrest where it needs to be left and leave the deceased’s name from 2003 out. I understand your points are valid and agree with you. Kudos to you.
    If we are trying to “Fix this opioid crisis” why wait until now? When arrived to the victim’s scene which at that time was also well known to be a drug dealer’s house, was it investigated or treated as “Just another overdose?” How was the call responded? Let’s get to the root issue if we are actually trying to get to the bottom of this ongoing epidemic.

    1. Dear “Anonymous”–I really don’t know what you’re trying to insinuate “When arrived to the victim’s scene which at that time was also well known to be a drug dealer’s house, was it investigated or treated as “Just another overdose?” How was the call responded?”. Known drug dealers house? This was my family’s house you’re talking about-I lived there with the “deceased’s daughter” who was 9 yrs old. Who was the “drug dealer” you’re referring to? Myself? My daughter?? If you have something to say, say it. Don’t beat around the bush with me. I’m Kelley–everybody knows who I am–the mother of the deceased’s daughter – so get in touch with me–I’d love to chat–why stay anonomous and post from behind a keyboard!!!! Otherwise, spreading false information for which you have no facts to base your comment on -because it is, in fact, a lie, continues to hurt the “deceased’s” daughter. Lets really get to the “root” of this! Reach out!

  6. Lt. McCain – Thanks. I appreciate and understand your goals here. Best of luck – both with exposing what needs to known, as well as with bringing justice where it is due.

    As for name-dropping in the first sentence of your article – that is unnecessary and irrelevant to your goals in this public-facing asset. Kindly remove the name from the article with respect to the deceased’s friends and family.

    Thanks again.

    1. I’ve addressed this issue personally with the family. It was not my intent to hurt the family, however, the article was based on facts, not allegations, and in order to tell the story I used the Civil Service Commision Appeal of which his name is featured prominently. Again, my apologies to his family; especially his daughter.

  7. I could state many things wrong with this situation and WHY Curtatone should have been gone years ago…. along with his sister……. Bottom line that entire family needs to be gone out of the political world!!! They have done enough damage!!! As for the Dante comments, he should definitely have NOT lost his job… plain and simple!! and what Joe has done and treated Mario….. disgrace…… When will it end and someone finally give the city the justice it deserves????

  8. I’ve grown up in Somerville and my family all around are from the once great city. Somerville is known for its loyalty and pride to the city itself and to have a mayor like Joe Curtatone whose selfish arrogant rude and has had no expectations of “Doing Good” for the city is a disgrace. To have an officer who has contributed to many teenagers addictions and their own deaths. I just turnt 31 and I can’t tell you how many friends/ loved ones I’ve lost to the opioid epidemic it’s so sad. I have younger siblings who suffer from addictions my younger sister went to Somerville High and was telling stories about officer Capobianco it’s awful that a man who is supposed to honor his badge stood behind it to pray on kids to make a few dollars and maintain his own habit while mayor Curtatone basically swept it under the rug to save his pockets. Mothers who lost sons sisters who lost brothers fathers who lost daughters gone forever but this man is allowed to walk the streets and see his family at the end of the day it’s sick absolutely sick I would put my name on any petition or any form that would get Curtatone out of the mayors office.

  9. It’s ridiculous how he has brought down a whole city!!and now his cousin has been arrested 2 more times recently and the mayor looks like he’s been doing some drugs too! He looks awful, he needs to go to jail!!!!!

  10. I grew up in the midst of all this I graduated Somerville high in 2004 and I had Joe curtatone as a football coach, he was also my dads divorce attorney years prior, I had the upmost respect for him and was proud to know him at one time, but as a proud union construction worker and a member of the Somerville stands together movement I have been let down numerous times by him, he has forgot his roots as a local and instead of giving us locals the opportunity to work in my proud city where I grew up he has let money in his own pockets come before anything. He has filtered the work away from us union workers to these out of state contractors where he has had kick back checks sent to him, the whole assembly sq infrastructure was a discrace to me as I picketed outside these sites with no action ever done by him, I then marched on city hall steps to rally for the hopes of getting into the future infrastructure of Clarendon hill and the green line extension over a billion dollars worth of work in the upcoming years and just to be shut down to the same greedy ways. As a local of This city where I am so proud to be from I am ashamed of the mayor who I considered as a friend of my family to be involved in so much corruption, I am surprised criminal charges have not been brought up on him yet, he has had so many opportunities to make things better but has repeatedly let me down.

    1. Why has he not been arrested yet? I”m a former resident of Somerville, and I’m appalled by the corruption throughout Somerville and surrounding Cities. The honest and good people in the communities must come together and clean house in an attempt to save and heal the communities and it’s people!!! As adults God expects us to take the necessary action!!! These corrupted politicians once and for all, need an anema!!! Also, there’s lots of corruption in the police force. The great apples in the police force, must come together to help rid of those rotten apples. It’s the only way, we the people can get and save the communuties!!! An absolute disgrace!!!

      1. When we get great police officers and firemen they’re killed by accident on the Job, none of these people are going to EVER be put in jail or taken off their jobs because they continue to cover up for one another keep the money in their own pockets and get away with poisoning neighborhoods with drugs guns and fake gangs, the original gangs are the police department the commissions office, the Mayors city council, and the lists goes on They tell the Media what to report clear records of those from family with deep pockets, the moment you question the corruption or you decline the offer to loose yourself morally and ethical
        as a police officer, firemen or anyone with a title you now have your death sentence, so don’t expect anything to change as long as opiods and corruption have a healthy pay day and real estate is booming business the corruption will go wherever they need to gain access and control of new players new territory, Elizabeth Warren has been a corrupt player Ayanna Pressley just couldn’t wait to get her foot in the sesspool of corruption, let’s sit and watch her do nothing, like Deval Patrick he played the game and got out I often wonder how much he paid to walk out alive.

  11. Joe curtatone should step down as he is a disgrace to the city and all people that elected him. People thought he had thei best interest at heart… no joe just cares about joe with his deep pockets Somerville was a great city growing up families in neighborhoods. Now no one knows thei neighbors everything is condos and you can thank joe for that. He is bringing the city down. I know the family of Carlos demedeiros and to this day they grieve the loss of a loved one .. a son a brother and sadly a father. Capobianco can spend time with his kids if he has any this now young lady never had that time. Do the right thing joe suck it up buttercup and step down the people of Somerville deserve better

  12. Let’s not forget the years and years of the close friendship between Alex and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon. A relationship that allowed Chief Fallon to repeatedly tarnish his own badge on an ongoing basis by covering up and protecting Alex during the crimes, the subsequent overdoses and deaths and the domestic violence incidents that he ( Fallon) had both a moral and legal obligation to address in his duties as a police chief.

    The network of corruption in Somerville City Government and in particular Chief Fallon’s administration is mind boggling and utterly disgraceful. The good people of Somerville deserve much better. The good men and women who serve those good citizens also deserve much better. They are victims of a campaign of fear and intimidation.

    The parallels of the Somerville City Government corruption and that of the current White House administration is absolutely astonishing and uncanny. Fortunately and thankfully the strength of a handful of men and women of integrity and honor who have boldly stood up and fought back is making great strides in exposing these criminals and their brutal displays of arrogance. You all know who you are and your time is in fast approach. Time to face the music.
    Retired SPD Lieutenant Michael Mulcahy

    1. You had me until u had to throw a jab at Trump. WTF does Trump have to do with the nepotism in Somerville?
      Comparing the two made you look foolish.
      I hate dirty cops. I can say that, cause I put my time in and seen these dirty rat type cops who would be white trash without the job.

  13. My son is recovering from opiates! The light has overcome the darkness. Thank you for shedding the light on this disease!

  14. Dante, was wrong for what He did. I think He Should have received a severe Suspension and returned to work. One mistake does not define a Man

  15. And also, thank you Mr. McCain, for not granting Alex’s request about the watch and money. That was Carlos’ favorite watch-and my daughter has it to this day, in a safe, and plans to pass it on to her first son-if/when she has one. The funds he had on him were used to help pay her first semester tuition at UMass Boston. So thank you.

  16. But Dante an honest cop gets fired?
    They need the State Police to investigate because the FBI is corrupt from top to bottom.Just like Somerville.
    Remember Whitey Bulger?
    Nothing’s changed.

  17. As the mother of Carlos’ only child, it is sickening to us that nobody still knows the real truth about this situation, and the role Alex played in Carlos’ death. My daughter, now 26, still lives in Somerville–and was only 9 yrs old the day she lost her father-and she was definitely daddy’s girl. They were as close as could be. He took her everywhere, was at every PTA meeting, play, dance recital, and took her on vacations, holidays, you name it. Carlos was an amazing father-and took great pride and joy in his daughter. That her father’s name continues to be dragged through the mud because of Alex hurts her extremely! She has gone through years of counseling and still tries to heal from this–only to see this constantly brought up every time Alex’s name is mentioned in the press. It’s constant torture for her!! She will never have her father walk her down the aisle, he missed her young years, her prom, graduation, and graduation from UMass Boston getting her degree in Autistic Studies! As her mother, it devastates me that nobody cares what this does to her. Let him rest in peace–and please–allow my daughter-and Carlos’ daughter to FINALLY HEAL! Thank you!

    1. I feel terrible that this continues to haunt your family. That is not my intention. I want to expose the real Curtatone/Capobianco connection; I would be glad to talk to u if u would like to tell me your families side of this. Message me on Facebook I will give u my cell number.


      Joe McCain

    2. Dear Kelly I agree with you 100% Carlos was a wonderful loving person who adored his daughter immensely My heart truly breaks for you & her to have to go through this again ! You have a wonderful & smart daughter whom I love including you too As long as you both have love for Carlos he will always be at peace Love you Jo Iannuzzi

    3. With respect, whatever pain your family went through, was due to Carlos DeMedeiros being a drug-dealer. Did you ever stop to think about how many of his “clients” potentially died from overdosing from the “product(s)” he was selling?

      1. In 2002; a close, close friend of mine died from an Adderall & Percocet overdose; sold to him by Carlos DeMedeiros.

        There are other things out there from back then that others don’t and sadly, will never know.

        As far as Alex goes, who Joe has been protecting for years and years and years; that man (Alex) shouldn’t be receiving a single penny from the City for the crimes he has committed… all throughout the entire majority of the past two decades.

        The City has labeled him as being “legally-disabled”, due to alleged on-the-job training… and having the (so-called) “disease of addiction”.

        I’m not in any way, shape or form; attempting to disparage anyone who suffers from drug-use. Personally; I’ve known far, far, far, too many people who have passed away from drug-use; however, I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize it as a disease; as no one ever forced the drug user to try the drugs, and as no one ever forced the drug user to experiment with the drugs. I believe it can not be denied that it all, always begins as a choice.

        However, in regards to the STRICTLY PARTICULAR 2002 situation – involving Carlos & Alex; Carlos truly was indeed a victim, and Alex should have been incarcerated (in my opinion); a very, very longtime ago… instead, today, Alex Capobianco receives $70,000 (taxpayer money) per year from Joe Curtatone’s city hall – a true shame.

        By the way, it wouldn’t surprise me if Maria Curtatone has assisted Alex in the past (or even now, for all we know) from avoiding incarceration… just as she has greatly assisted her & Joe’s brother in the past, Cosmo Curtatone, from avoiding incarceration.

      2. Pastor Philip-like so many others, my daughters father had a very expensive habit himself, and paid the ultimate price for what ended up taking his life. He sold to keep up his habit-so referring to him as if he were some piece of shit money making non-using dealer who was just living off peoples misery is false and defamatory. He went to rehab several times and was himself addicted. Before he ever picked up any pill, he was a hard working family man just like everybody. He did HVAC, and before that, worked in the autobody industry for nearly 15 years. His daughter, who is still in Somerville, and who reads this, i’m sure would be greatly offended by your erroneous comment. He was a victim of this ‘disease’ like so many others. Thank you!

        1. “He sold to keep up his habit-so referring to him as if he were some piece of shit money making non-using dealer who was just living off peoples misery is false and defamatory.”

          I never thought, nor implied, nor said any of the aforementioned that you wrote. Understood?

          Suffice it to say, in regards to your daughter who may be “greatly offended by your ‘erroneous’ comment,” I don’t know what to tell you.

          “Erroneous”? LOL

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