Drug bust nets two in Laconia

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — City police arrested two people who share a Pine Street apartment for multiple counts of drug possession and sales charges Thursday afternoon.

Nathan Barros, 27, of 41 Pine St. #5 is charged with one Class B felony of possession of heroin, one Class A felony for possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell and one Class B felony of sales of heroin that allegedly took place on Jan. 6 in Laconia.

Cirsten McKim, 40, of 41 Pine St. #5 is charged with one Class A felony of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, one Class B felony of possession of heroin, and one Class B felony of sales of heroin that allegedly took place on Feb. 12 on Pine Street in Laconia.

Both are being held on $10,000 cash bail and both must undergo a source of funds hearing if bail is posted.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division said that both McKim and Barros had allegedly sold heroin on different dates to confidential informant[s] enabling police to obtain arrest warrants issued yesterday for both of them.

During the day, drug detectives got information that Barros would be leaving the apartment at a certain time to allegedly make a drug deal. While monitoring the apartment before the arrests, affidavits said they saw "several visitors" who went to the apartment for a short period of time and then left.

The detectives also saw Barros leave the apartment, where he was followed by an unmarked police car who radioed to a marked cruiser to apprehend him, which occurred without incident.

Police knocked and identified themselves and were let into the apartment by McKim. While there, they identified a local man who they knew from previous investigations into drug activity. He was detained for a short period of time and released.

Affidavits said McKim told them she understood her rights and that the drugs they found in the apartment were "both of ours." She allegedly admitted to selling drugs from the apartment. Affidavits said the street value of the methamphetamine was about $900 and it was packaged for sale.

In court yesterday, Detective Prosecutor Tony Horan said, as part of his high cash bail argument for Barros, that while detectives were in the apartment, two additional people came to the apartment and admitted to police they were there to buy drugs.

Horan said the level of traffic in and out of the apartment, coupled with the actual charges and factoring in the current drug epidemic, made Barros and McKim a danger to society.

Barros, who was defended at his arraignment Friday by a Laconia public defender, said where the drugs were found was not specific enough to charge his client with possession with intent to sell or for possession. He argued that probable cause for those two charges hadn't been met and Barros should be released on personal recognizance bail.

He said Barros was born and raised in Gilford, has a lot of family in the area and had earned a college degree, so he is not a danger or a flight risk.

Judge Jim Carroll said that for bail purposes there is probable cause and that Barros is a danger because of the nature of the charges. He noted there would be an opportunity for him to have a probable cause hearing for the charges themselves in the next couple of weeks.

McKim was not represented by a lawyer Friday because the public defenders office cannot represent co-defendents due to potential conflicts of interest. The court will appoint a lawyer for her and she will reappear as soon as possible for a bail hearing.

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Police chase leads to multiple charges

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — A man who says he lives in Belmont but who has an official address in Vermont led police on a wild ride along Lakeshore Road and down a portion of Union Avenue in Laconia at 10 p.m. Thursday night. He is being held on $10,000 cash-only bail after his court appearance yesterday.

Shawn Meiklejohn, 45, is charged with one felony count of possession of less than an ounce of methamphetamine; four Class A misdemeanors – three in Gilford and one in Laconia; and two Class B misdemeanors. He also faces six traffic violations with two of them occurring in Gilford and three of them occurring in Laconia.

Affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, said Meiklejohn was driving along Lakeshore Road near German Motor Sports when a Gilford Police Officer Curtis Mailloux heard his loud muffler. Mailloux started following the car and noticed the license plate was barely attached to the car.

When Meiklejohn turned in to Liscomb Circle, Mailloux followed and said Meiklejohn made a left into the first driveway. Affidavits said Mailloux lit the interior of Meiklejohn's car and noticed that he was the only one in it.

As Mailloux got out of his car and began to approach Meiklejohn, affidavits said Meiklejohn began to back out of the driveway. Mailloux ordered him to stop the vehicle but he allegedly failed to comply, and once he backed out of the driveway, he began to drive toward Mailloux.

Affidavits said Mailloux drew his gun and ordered Meiklejohn to stop. He said Meiklejohn continued down to where he was standing. Mailloux pointed his weapon at Meiklejohn and ordered him to stop and turn off the car. He said Meiklejohn looked at him but he could not see Meiklejohn's hands.

After several more attempts to get Meiklejohn to turn off the car, Meiklejohn allegedly took off and nearly ran over Mailloux's foot. He returned to his cruiser and began to follow Meiklejohn after radioing into dispatch.

Meiklejohn allegedly drove at speeds between 60 and 70 mph through a red light at McIntyre Circle and on to Union Avenue, where police allege he passed cars and caused some to drive off the road to get out of his way in a 30-mph zone.

Mailloux stopped his pursuit but continued into Laconia, where he saw Meiklejohn turn into the parking lot at Case and Keg. Affidavits said the Mailloux saw Meiklejohn run from his car and head toward Irwin Marine, so he followed him on foot. He caught up to him in short time but said Meiklejohn refused to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. Mailloux zapped him with his Taser and handcuffed him.

Other officers responding from Gilford and Laconia assisted in searching Meiklejohn and found a small purple container that contained a substance that later field tested to be methamphetamine.

Sgt. Prosector Eric Bredbury argued for a minimum of $10,000 cash-only bail in court Thursday saying Meiklejohn was clearly a danger to the general public and that he was a possible flight risk because of his varying addresses. Bredbury said he has multiple convictions including one for first-degree assault and more recent ones in 2012 for second-degree assault and bail jumping from the Belknap County Superior Court.

Bredbury said he was so reckless, he fled with a police officer pointing a gun at him.

Meiklejohn was represented by a public defender who said personal recognizance bail would be appropriate because Meiklejohn owns a metals processing business in Belmont where he now lives, that he has no ties to Vermont, his family is here, and that he is supporting his college-bound daughter.

He said Meiklejohn told him he was recent diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder and would voluntarily seek help from Genesis Behavioral Health if he were to be released on personal recognizance bail. He also said that there was only one felony and four Class A misdemeanor charges – driving after revocation; disobeying an officer; simple assault, which carries additional penalties because the alleged assault was on a police officer; and resisting arrest that occurred in Laconia – that could be considered for bail. The balance are Class B misdemeanors or violations that don't carry jail sentences and can't be considered for bail purposes.

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Emerson Aviation says BEDC loan helped business survive recession

Dave Emerson, left, stands with Ken Wilson, the loan officer for the Belknap Economic Development Corporation. The BEDC, in partnership with two banks, provided Emerson Aviation with the capital it needed to weather the recession and renew its growth. (Michael Kitch/The Laconia Daily Sun)

Dave Emerson, left, stands with Ken Wilson, the loan officer for the Belknap Economic Development Corporation. The BEDC, in partnership with two banks, provided Emerson Aviation with the capital it needed to weather the recession and renew its growth. (Michael Kitch/The Laconia Daily Sun)

 

BY MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — "I grew up on the airport and I've been flying since I could walk," said Dave Emerson, whose father, Alan, founded Emerson Aviation in 1962, the year his son was born.

In 2005, several years after his father died while teaching a pilot when their plane plunged into Lake Winnipesaukee, Emerson acquired the company, the oldest "fixed based operator," or firm licensed to provide aeronautical services at an airport, in New Hampshire. A few years later, the economy slipped into what turned into the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

"We needed working capital," Emerson recalled, explaining the firm was saddled with debt at high interest rates, which it sought to refinance. "We were looking for $875,000," he said. A half dozen banks showed him the door before two offered to share a loan of $700,000. "I went to the Belknap Economic Development Council," Emerson said.

Ken Wilson, the council's loan officer, drew on the agency's revolving fund to arrange a $150,000 "gap loan" to complete the financial package Emerson required. Emerson said that with the advent of lower interest rates banks began approaching him and he was able to refinance his original borrowing. This week, he repaid the loan from the Belknap Economic Development Council. "The ink is not even dry," Wilson remarked.

Justin Slattery, executive director of the Belknap Economic Council, said "gap loans," which bridge the loan-to-value ratio expected by banks, are the mainstay of the council's portfolio.

"We don't compete with banks," he stressed. "We collaborate with banks."

Wilson, himself a veteran commercial loan officer, said that "our borrowers talk with the banks before they see me."

Noting that "every deal is different," he said that many loans, including that to Emerson Aviation, take the form of secondary mortgages secured by real estate.

Slattery emphasized that the revolving loan fund, which is continually replenished as loans are repaid, is separate from the council's operating budget, which funds salaries and other initiatives like fostering workforce development with schools and providing technical assistance to businesses.

Slattery said that with its revolving loan fund the council is able to assist local firms with the financing they require to retain and expand employment as well as make equipment purchases and undertake construction projects. Recently, the Belknap Economic Development Council partnered with Meredith Village Savings Bank to finance Hermit Woods Winery of Meredith and Bank of New Hampshire to finance to G.C. Engineering Inc. of Laconia.

Emerson said that when Mitt Romney, who owns a home on Lake Winnipesaukee, was a presidential candidate, the skies in the Lake Region teemed with aircraft, and, although traffic has thinned, his business is thriving. Emerson offers the only air taxi service in the Lakes Region along with flight instruction and the fueling. The air taxi service, which ferries executives between homes on the lakes and commercial centers across the Northeast, is the most profitable segment of the business. Meanwhile, Emerson said that as the economy recovers flight instruction has increased.

The firm operates a fleet of five airplanes, one twin-engine Piper Aztec doubling as a trainer and taxi. Emerson effectively operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, and employs 10 people, including three pilots. Emerson's father managed the airport, plowed the runway and tended the beacons and the company still clears the runway under a contract with the Laconia Airport Authority.

Emerson said his next project will be to construct a hangar with de-icing capability. He said that without de-icing capacity, Laconia is a three-season airport, especially for corporate jets.

"We get two or three calls a week about de-icing," he said, "as more and more are bringing their children to the private schools in the region — Brewster, Tilton and New Hampton." He indicated that the expansion would add another three to five jobs.

When the time comes, Emerson will approach the banks first, then, if necessary, the Belknap Economic Development Council.

Note: This story has been updated to correct Justin Slattery's name.

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