CIRCUIT COURT — One of two men arrested in a methamphetamine raid in Gilmanton was ordered held on $25,000 cash bail Monday after his video appearance in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division.
Jonathan Rawlins, 35, of 499 Route 140 is charged with four counts of sales of a controlled drug and one count of conspiracy to commit sales of a controlled drug.
His weekend arrest was the result of an investigation by the N.H. State Attorney's Drug Task Force who, assisted by Gilmanton Police, went to the home just before 10 a.m. Friday.
Gilmanton's prosecutor said Monday in his argument for continued cash bail that there was a active methamphetamine making operation and the N.H. Clandestine Drug Team was called.
Police said there were two women in the home — one who was identified as Rawlins' long-time girlfriend — and a newborn baby in the home. A second woman was also there. Both women were allowed to leave.
The prosecution also said that Rawlins has a extensive criminal record from Colorado that dated back to about 10 years. He noted there is an arrest warrant for Rawlins, but it is for Colorado-only — meaning the state of Colorado won't come and get him.
A second man, Robert Gonthier, 35, who police said also lives at 499 Route 140, was charged with one count of sales of a controlled drug.
Affidavits supporting both the search warrants and the arrests of both men were sealed. However, Rawlins' attorney Mark Sisti argued that he couldn't begin to address the charges without knowing how they came about.
Gilmanton prosecutor argued against unsealing the affidavits, saying this was really the N.H. Attorney General's case. Sisti retorted by saying that if it was so important to the AG, then their office could have sent their own prosecutor.
"I don't need the C.I.s (Confidential Informants)," he said. "I just need to know the charges."
Judge Jim Carroll ordered redacted versions of material be made available to Sisti and Gonthier's attorney, Eric Wolpin, by the end of the day.
Sisti argued that although it appears Rawlins had some criminal record from at least 10 years ago in Colorado and some failure to appear in court, he has no reason to thinks Rawlins would flee.
He said he has lived in his house for about 10 years and is employed in construction. Sisti said $7,500 cash or corporate surety would be enough to insure Rawlins' appearance in court.
Carroll said the drugs and activities police allegedly found in the home are extremely dangerous and ordered bail held at $25,000.
Wolpin argued that Gonthier was a local man, was only charged with one count of drug sales and should be released on personal recognizance bail. He said Gonthier can live with his long-time girlfriend in Franklin and was only in Gilmanton briefly to help Rawlins with a job.
Carroll ordered Gonthier held on $1,000 cash bail.
Should either man post bail, Carroll ordered a hearing to determine the source of the money.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 01:29
LACONIA - A 9-year-old child escaped serious injury Sunday afternoon when the scooter he was riding collided with a moving car at the intersection of Lovell and Baldwin streets.
The child was taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital with foot and leg injuries.
Police said investigation the child was on a two-wheel scooter, traveling down Lovell Street which is a steep incline that ends at Baldwin Street. The child crashed into the motor vehicle that was traveling on Baldwin Street.
Police are continuing to investigate.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 12:39
LACONIA — The Belknap County Executive Committee agreed to the transfer of $34,000 to meet the county's share of employee health insurance costs through mid-November when it met before a packed house of mostly county workers at the Belknap County Complex last night.
The action came after a recess in the meeting at which County Administrator Debra Shackett huddled with Finance Director Glenn Waring to produce a spreadsheet detailing the transfers, which will move $34,000 of a projected $50,795 surplus in the Belknap County Nursing Home's health insurance budget to five other departments to cover their health insurance costs, $20,000 for the Sheriff's Department, $5,000 for the County Attorney's office, $4,000 for the Finance Department, $3,000 for the Nursing Home Activities Department and $2,000 for Administration.
The committee had earlier approved the transfer of $10,292 from the Maintenance Department's health insurance line to cover the nursing home's administrative insurance costs, a move which Rep. Frank Tilton (R-Laconia), chairman of the Belknap County Executive Committee, said made sense because it involved the same budget category.
Shackett seemed surprised by the willingness of the committee to approve transfers between departments and Tilton said that of all the $93,667 in transfers which the Belknap County Commissioners had asked for this was the easiest to approve.
Tilton then tried to put off consideration of other transfer requests until the next scheduled meeting of the Executive Committee on November 17, but Shackett pointed out that health insurance funds for several departments would end as of this Friday, forcing employees to pick up the county's share of the bill, which in a written explanation provided to the committee she had said would force increases of over some $3,800 for employees while others would have no additional costs at all.
County Attorney Melissa C. Guldbrandsen, whose department would be one of those most affected by the inaction on the transfer request called on the committee and the commissioners to ''search for some common ground. I would hate to see it end without some resolution'' and questioned why they couldn't use the $159,000 credit the county was receiving on its health insurance premiums to pay the bill.
County Commissioner Ed Philpot (D-Laconia) said that would require the County Convention to approve a supplemental appropriation, an action which couldn't take place for nearly two weeks.
Tilton at one point suggested that the health insurance costs could be covered by existing appropriations but Shackett said that even if all of the $2.6 million approved for health care costs by the county, which were pegged to last year's appropriation level, were expended the county would still be $20,000 short of the actual anticipated costs for the current year.
Both Tilton and Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith), chairperson of the county delegation, said that the intent of the convention, as expressed by a motion made by Rep. Herb Vadney (R-Meredith) in February was to limit health insurance costs to put pressure on the county employee unions to agree to new contracts which would see them take on more of the health insurance contracts.
Tilton, who was unaware that workers in the county are now represented by four unions instead of three, wondered why no contract negotiations have taken place since earlier this year. The convention in June rejected a contract with one of the unions which have granted a 1.5 percent pay raise while shifting some of the health care costs to employees.
Shackett explained that the new union was certified earlier this year by the state Public Employees Labor Relations board and although hey do not have a contract as yet that once they are certified the county is obligated to continue to provide benefits until a contract is approved.
Philpot also questioned whether Tilton was suggesting that commissioners negotiate with workers through threats of unilaterally reducing their health insurance, saying ''we can't do this unilaterally.''
Guldbrandsen said that she is aware that unions representing county workers are prepared to go to court with unfair labor practice complaints if health insurance benefits are reduced, a situation she said which would further harm relations with county workers.
Shackett said last night's decision does not end the current situation and that commissioners will return next month with more budget transfer requests for the committee.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 02:07
LACONIA — The City Council voted unanimously to pass a ban on the sale or possession of "spice" or synthetic cannibinoids commonly sold as incense.
A second reading including a public hearing will be held on November 10.
"This is a major problem in the state," said City Manager Scott Myers, who added that many surrounding communities have already banned the sale of spice.
Police Chief Chris Adams said Laconia has seen six non-fatal overdoses in the city. He said the chemicals are unregulated, meaning no one who consumes spice knows what it is they're ingesting.
"We don't want this in our community," he said.
Adams noted that the police have made spot checks in stores both undercover and in uniform and haven't found any for sale.
That statement, and the fact that there is no empirical evidence regarding the danger of the chemicals the city seeks to ban, made Councilor David Bownes question the need for the ordinance.
He said he wasn't necessarily against the ordinance nor was he against protecting the youth of the city but in his mind "it's a panic reaction that started in the governor's office." He said he was leery about imposing sanctions on something when the Council doesn't really know what it is.
"People are dying..." said Councilor Henry Lipman, who said the city should try to limit spice's influence. He also noted that if the city didn't pass the ordinance, it would be the only community in the immediate area where the product could be legally sold.
Councilor Bob Hamel said he'd been looking at an ordinance banning spice for about two years and said it was "better than doing nothing."
Councilor Armand Bolduc echoed Hamel and agreed that Laconia should pass the ordinance. "We're not going to put up with it," he said
Anyone found to be in violation of the ordinance, should it pass at its second reading, will be fined $500 per violation. Police can also confiscate and destroy as they see fit any substance that fits the criteria defined in the ordinance.
Spice or incense is marked as "not for human consumption" however its use as a synthetic and legal substitute for marijuana is wide spread.
About two years ago, Tilton became the first Lakes Region community to ban the sale and possession of it. Franklin, Gilford and Belmont soon followed suit.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 01:17
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