PITTSFIELD -- A fugitive from Vermont is being held on $500,000 bail after allegedly being caught with a stash of guns, drugs and bulletproof vests.
While serving an arrest warrant on Evan Cox, 27, at a Columbus Avenue apartment on Thursday, members of the U.S. Marshal's Service, the Pittsfield Police Department, Berkshire County Drug Task Force and the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Squad allegedly discovered a cache of guns, along with crack cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP) and marijuana.
Also arrested was Radell Johnson, 27, of New Haven, Conn.
According to a probable cause report, a deputy marshal stationed on the building's balcony saw Cox "swiftly moving around inside" after police announced their presence and because the fugitive was considered armed and dangerous they went into the apartment without a search warrant.
Once inside Cox and Johnson were taken into custody without any problems. When doing a "protect sweep" of the residence, investigators say they found handguns and crack cocaine floating in the toilet. After obtaining a search warrant police allegedly turned up a total of three handguns, ammunition, crack cocaine packaged for sale with a street value of as much as $1,900, an undefined amount of PCP in the freezer, more than an ounce of marijuana, a stun gun, two bullet proof vests and helmet, drug dealing paraphernalia and close to $5,000 in cash.
The investigators used a wet-dry vacuum to suck the alleged drugs out of the toilet, according to the report.
Investigators alleged Johnson's hands were wet when taken into custody and believe he had been trying to dispose of the drugs when police arrived.
Both men were charged with 16 weapons and drug related charges.
Cox is wanted in Vermont on multiple counts of first-degree aggravated domestic assault and possession of cocaine and marijuana. He also has previous convictions for drug dealing, said police.
According to Assistant Berkshire Attorney Michael D'Angelo, when Cox was at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction after being booked he was overheard on the telephone telling someone to go to the apartment and retrieve something. Police stopped a vehicle with four individuals who had gone into the apartment and confiscated $25,000 they believe was drug money taken from the apartment in order to bail the defendants out, according to D'Angelo.
Cox, appearing with attorney Joshua C. Hochberg, pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Friday to eight felonies and eight misdemeanors. He was held on $500,000 bail by agreement. His attorney can ask for a bail hearing at a future date. No action was taken on the fugitive charge.
Cox is due back in court on April 11.
Johnson also pleaded not guilty to eight felony and eight misdemeanor charges. His attorney, Thomas C. Doyle, asked for personal recognizance in the case, telling the court that his client had no record in Massachusetts or elsewhere.
"This is his first time being involved in the criminal justice system," Doyle told the court. "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Doyle said there was nothing connecting his client to the apartment or anything found inside.
Additionally, he said there were good grounds for a motion to suppress whatever was found at the apartment based on the police actions during the raid.
D'Angelo asked for $100,000 bail.
Judge Fredric D. Rutberg ordered Johnson held on $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety bail.
He is due back in court next month.
To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx