Busted

Police arrest man wanted on drugs, weapons charges after Gilford incident


By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — A man wanted on drugs and weapons charges arising from an Oct. 30 incident on Saltmarsh Pond Road is being held in lieu of $20,000 cash bail, following his arrest in Plymouth on Wednesday.
Seth Abram Stephens, 28, who was residing at 23 Saltmarsh Pond Road, Gilford, in October but now lists his address as 166 Highland St., Plymouth, faces charges of possessing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, and being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon.
Plymouth police, accompanied by members of the United States Marshal’s Office, Grafton County Sheriff’s Department, and Plymouth State University Police Department, arrested Stephens during a warrant sweep on Wednesday, turning him over to Gilford police.
A video arraignment took place Thursday morning in the Fifth Circuit Court-Laconia District Division, followed by an appearance in Belknap County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon. As a condition of meeting the $20,000 cash-only bail, the court added the stipulations that Stephens would have to sign a waiver of extradition, that he not leave New hampshire, that he possess no drugs or alcohol, and that he have bail supervision through the Belknap County Department of Corrections.
The state requested a source-of-funds hearing before the granting of any bail to ensure that the money being put up is legal, and the defendant requested the right to a bail hearing.
Gilford Police Sgt. Christopher Jacques said police had been called to Saltmarsh Pond Road on a report of shots fired and people screaming, shortly after midnight on Oct. 30. The investigation led them to discover what Jacques called a “large quantity” of methamphetamine and a 9 mm handgun in Stephens’ possession.
The department’s TruNarc detection device confirmed that the drug was methamphetamine, and Gilford issued a warrant for Stephens’ arrest on Nov. 3, but he eluded capture.
The investigation into the original complaint of shots fired is ongoing, Jacques said, adding that police would appreciate any information people may have about the incident.
No one was injured, but police “take it very seriously,” Jacques said, because of the potential for harm to the intended target or to a neighbor from a stray bullet.
In an affidavit filed in Belknap County Superior Court, Jacques states that police responding on Oct. 30 interviewed 10 people at the residence, including one without identification who said his name was Ryan Hernandez. He had screwed the door to his bedroom shut from the inside when police initially arrived, but he later asked to get some clothing from the bedroom and leave when police had completed their interviews. Officers took photographs of the man before he left.
Police obtained a search warrant to locate the weapon that had allegedly fired the shots and, during the search of “Hernandez’s” bedroom, they found glass pipes and an off-white powder that led them to seek a second search warrant to look for drugs.
A subsequent search led to several safes in Hernandez’s room, one of which contained a 9 mm semi-automatic Stoeger Cougar 8000 pistol with a single round in the chamber and several rounds in the magazine, along with additional ammunition. Police also found three plastic bags and a glass jar containing a “crystal-like substance” that Jacques recognized as methamphetamine and later confirmed to be the drug.
Police determined that “Hernandez” was actually Seth Stephens, based on the fact that he was less than 6 feet tall, while the real Ryan Hernandez was taller; there were cards with Stephens’ name in the bedroom that “Hernandez” had said was his; and he matched a Seth Stephens booking photo from Nashua Police Department.
Stephens was discovered to be a four-times-convicted felon.
On Wednesday, Plymouth police were conducting a sweep to locate those on outstanding warrants, and they found Stephens at the Red Carpet Inn & Suites at 166 Highland St. After the arrest, they brought him back to Gilford for booking.
In addition to the three felony charges, Gilford police learned there was a “no bail” order by his probation officer in Manchester, and there were two electronic bench warrants, from Merrimack and Belknap County superior courts.
In court documents, Jacques cited some of Stephens’ previous convictions, for theft by unauthorized taking and criminal liability on March 23, 2017, and being a felon in possession of a deadly weapon on March 14, 2017.
Alexander Hutchins, deputy chief of the Plymouth Police Department, said that department has an “active and ongoing” investigation that may lead to additional charges against Stephens.
Hutchins said the warrant sweep also led to other arrests.
Christopher Smith, 45, who was wanted for failure to register as a sex offender and for sale of controlled drugs, was found hiding at a residence on Loon Lake Road.
Justin Barberian, 23, was arrested at the Red Carpet on a court warrant in a case alleging receipt of stolen property.
Robert Barberian, 41, was arrested at the Red Carpet on a warrant out of Hillsborough County Superior Court on a case involving endangering the welfare of a child and controlled premises where drugs were kept.
Cheyanne Huckins, 18, was arrested at the Red Carpet on a court warrant on allegations of hindering apprehension or prosecution, unsworn falsification, and making a false report to law enforcement.

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Seth Stephens