Town Employee Charged With Drug Possession, Intent to Distribute
Authorities seize more than five pounds of marijuana and $30,000 in cash.
A Reading town employee with more than two decades of service was arrested Tuesday after authorities say they seized more than five pounds of marijuana and other drugs.
Joseph Guazzaloca, 56, joined the town’s payroll in 1974, according to Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner, and serves as a foreman in the town’s parks division.
On Tuesday, police arrested Guazzaloca and Moo Hwang, 27, both of Reading, and charged them with a list of offenses in connection with allegedly receiving a suspected shipment of narcotics through the mail.
Police charged Guazzaloca with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws, two counts of possession of a Class B substance, two counts of possession of a Class C substance and drug violation in a school or park zone.
Hechenbleikner said he considered these serious allegations, but that U.S. law says all suspects are innocent until proven guilty, so the town will proceed with that in mind.
Police also charged Hwang with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, drug violation near a park or school zone and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
According to a release from the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, a postal inspector contacted Massachusetts State Police to notify them of a suspected narcotics package due to be shipped to a Reading residence. As a result, the release said, authorities obtained two search warrants for 61 Arcadia Avenue after a police dog detected narcotics in the package.
The inspector delivered the package around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and authorities executed the search warrants, the release said. Authorities found Hwang outside the residence and Guazzaloca inside the residence with the suspicious package.
The release said authorities seized approximately five pounds of “high grade” marijuana in the package, along with more marijuana already in the home. Authorities also seized additional drugs and paraphernalia and $30,000 in cash, the release said
Reading Police Chief James Cormier said that the department appreciated the cooperation of District Attorney Gerard Leone, the Massachusetts State Police and the United States Postal Service.
“Working together to reduce the illegal narcotic trade in our community is of the highest priority of the Reading Police Department,” Cormier said in the release. “We recognize the far reaching implications of substance issues and their affects within our community, it is essential we continue to aggressively work against this scourge."
The release said Woburn District Court Judge Marianne Hinkle ordered Guazzaloca held on $500 cash bail and Hwang held on $250 cash bail. They scheduled to next visit the court on March 4 for a pretrial conference.