NORTH SMITHFIELD — Two police officers were injured during a ferocious encounter with a man who was apparently trying to protect a veritable pharmacopoeia of illegal drugs that included everything from marijuana to morphine.
On display at police headquarters Tuesday, the booty included a half pound of cocaine, five pounds of marijuana, hundreds of doses of Ecstasy, morphine, steroids and still other pharmaceuticals the police have yet to identify.
In addition to $29,000 in cash, digital scales, computers, a surveillance system and packaging supplies, the drugs were seized when police executed a warrant at the home of Wayne K. Simon, 35, of 1105 Iron Mine Hill Road Monday afternoon, said Police Chief Steven E. Reynolds.
“It's great to have a guy like this off the streets,” the chief told reporters. “I think the message is, if you're going to deal drugs in North Smithfield, you're going to get caught.”
Although Simon's residence was rigged with sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment, Reynolds said police have no reason to believe he used it to intercept the police or that he had been otherwise tipped to their arrival.
Reynolds said Simon may have arrived at the property in a motor vehicle around the same time the police were executing the warrant and that he initiated the violent confrontation with officers on the grounds just outside the residence.
Officer Michael Lamoreaux broke bones in his hand during the struggle, said Reynolds. Detective Cmdr. Russell B. Amato injured his back and shoulder. Both were taken to the hospital for initial treatment, though neither was admitted, said Reynolds.
A third officer, Detective Lt. Stephen Ricittelli, was also attacked by Simon but he did not require medical attention.
“The suspect was extremely violent and as a result the officers were injured on scene,” the chief said. “He was verbally abusive. He was punching, kicking, spitting.”
Reynolds said Simon lived alone in the house, situated next door to a junkyard and driving range. Simon had lived there since spring and had been the target of a police investigation for about three months, said Reynolds.
Simon's cache represents one of the largest seizures of contraband in North Smithfield during the last several years, and the police were proud to put it on display yesterday for members of the press corps.
Spread out on a long table like those typically seen at flea markets, the haul included olive-green pot in gallon-size plastic bags, a crusty white mass of rock and powder cocaine in a similar package and many smaller bags of the same drugs. There was also a vial of suspected steroids, pills in a rainbow of colors, digital scales and brand-name freezer bags in assorted sizes.
The seizure included at least 400 doses of Ecstasy, a euphoria-inducing drug in the amphetamine family also known as MDMA. It was first invented nearly a century ago, but it gained prominence in the 1980s as fuel for trendy nightlong dance parties known as “raves,” prompting the Drug Enforcement Administration to add Ecstasy to its list of scheduled substances.
Flanked by members of his command staff, Reynolds gestured toward the table of drugs and said, “All this is going to be sent to the state toxicology office for analysis.”
But police stopped short of calling Simon a kingpin or speculating about his ties to a possible narcotics ring. Reynolds characterized Simon as a mid-level drug dealer with a lengthy criminal history in Massachusetts as well as Rhode Island.
Simon was arraigned in District Court Tuesday on three counts of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, possession with the intent to deliver between one and five kilograms of marijuana and possession with the intent to deliver between an ounce and a kilogram of cocaine.
He was ordered held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions pending a hearing on Jan. 15.
Because of his criminal history, Simon is also facing a hearing as a probation violator. Records from the state judiciary's Web site indicate that Simon is currently on probation until 2013 for possession of a firearm after a conviction for a crime of violence. He pleaded no contest to the weapons charge in March 1995.
Simon also has prior convictions for breaking and entering, felony possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute, simple assault, violation of a protective order and other charges.